Global equity markets outside the U.S slipped Thursday after days of gains as concerns about the economies of China and Japan cast a cloud over the world growth picture, though Wall Street rose, and oil prices rebounded after slumping a day earlier.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was set to snap a three-day rally with a drop of of 1 percent, following a disappointing session in Asia.
Wall Street went against the grain with an advance as Apple shares rebounded and the rise in oil prices boosted the energy sector.
The dollar was was down 0.14 percent against a basket of major currencies as investors continued to mull whether recent volatility, stemming from a slowing China and other world markets, would prevent the U.S. Federal Reserve from raising U.S. interest rates next week.
"Investors are in wait-and-see mode before the Fed meeting and nobody is going to take big bets before that," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
"We also need to see more positive government action from China. They have all these levers to pull which they aren't, even as data gets more negative."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62.67 points, or 0.39 percent, to 16,316.24, the S&P 500 gained 7.61 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,949.65 and the Nasdaq Composite added 32.80 points, or 0.69 percent, to 4,789.33.
The latest policy responses to signs of stuttering global growth came as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut its benchmark rate by 25 basis points and signaled more would follow if China's economy slows further. That sent the Kiwi dollar down 1.75 percent to $0.6274.
Risks concerning Chinese growth had already been highlighted as producer prices in China fell for a 42nd straight month and car sales dropped, highlighting the strains on the world's No. 2 economy.
MSCI's all-country world stock index slipped 0.12 percent.
Japan's main gauge of capital spending also unexpectedly fell for a second straight month, data from July showed, highlighting its economic struggles.
Tokyo's Nikkei fell 2.5 percent. Chinese stocks ended down also, falling more than 1 percent each. Hong Kong and Australian stocks both lost more than 2 percent.
The emerging market woes were not confined to Asia.
Standard & Poor's stripped Brazil of its investment-grade credit rating on Wednesday, further hampering President Dilma Rousseff's efforts to regain market trust and pull Latin America's largest economy from recession.
That put Brazil stocks on course for big falls and financial markets are betting that Russia, South Africa, Turkey and Colombia could all be next in line for "junk" debt status.
The Brazilian real tumbled to the lowest since 2002 and was last at 3.8715 per dollar.
MSCI's all-country gauge of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan lost 1 percent while its emerging markets index lost 0.6 percent.
Brent crude oil, which has halved in price in little over a year, gained 0.9 percent to $48.03 per barrel and WTI U.S. crude climbed 2 percent at $45.03 a barrel.