Asian shares trimmed losses, after falling sharply in the previous session when the Bank of Japan refrained from introducing measures to ease market volatility. Financial markets in Hong Kong and China were shut on Wednesday for the Dragon Boat holidays, and will reopen on Thursday.
In Europe, shares traded higher after the German government encouraged the country's highest court to dismiss a legal challenge to the European Central Bank's government bond-buying program. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he did not think the ECB had violated its mandate, and that ECB policy was not subject to German law.
The demonstration in Turkey grew more chaotic after police cleared Taksim Square early Wednesday. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is expected to meet with the "organizers" of the anti-government protests which have spread throughout Turkey over the past two weeks.
"Riots in Istanbul, central banks raising stop signs, bond yields on the rise and equity markets skidding; brace yourselves, we are in for a very rough ride over the coming weeks," wrote Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG. "All this news has led to one thing and one thing only — high volatility. The current 'correction' in the market is heading towards a confidence killer, and this will only see volatility moving even higher."
(Read More: Hold On, Japan Bond Market Swings Aren't That Wild)
Yum edged lower after the fast-food chains operator reported a 19 percent drop in China same-store sales in May. China is responsible for about half the sales for Yum, the parent of the KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut restaurant chains.
Rambus soared after the company settled a patent case with South Korea's SK Hynix, which will pay the rival chipmaker $240 million.
Lennar gained after Keefe Bruyeett & Woods upgraded the homebuilder to "outperform" from "market perform."
GlaxoSmithKline rose after the pharmaceutical giant dismissed its head of research and development in China, following an investigation that determined data used in a 2010 research paper was misrepresented.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported that Apple bonds had fallen by up to 9 percent in value in under six weeks.
H&R Block and Men's Wearhouse are scheduled to post earnings after the closing bell.
The Treasury is scheduled to auction $21 billion in 10-year notes with the results available shortly after 1pm ET.
Weekly mortgage applications rose for the first time in a month as a surge in interest rates pushed prospective home buyers to act, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park. Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: