NEW YORK - European markets mounted a nervous recovery Wednesday while US finished lower as investors across the globe settled in for a period of volatility after this week's wild swings.
Divided opinion on the outlook for markets means "volatility is back, and investors had better get used to it," said Lee Wild, head of equity strategy at Interactive Investor.
Wild noted that "just as markets cannot keep rising forever, they must also stop falling at some point, but it's still unclear whether we've reached a level where buyers see value again."
Bourses in London, Paris and Frankfurt all rose more than 1.5 percent, clawing back around two-thirds of the previous day's losses.
US stocks also appeared headed for solid gains at mid-morning, but the rally faded and all three indices ended lower, with the Nasdaq shedding the most, with a loss of 0.9 percent.
"Right now, it looks like we are trying to make a bottom," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Annuities.
Analysts say worries about higher US interest rates were the prime catalyst for this week's turmoil, but the severity of the price swings was exacerbated by computerized trading programs.
The pullback follows a series of records after the US enacted massive tax cuts plan favored by President Donald Trump in December. Many analysts remain upbeat on the US economy and the chances of further stock market gains, but are expecting more swings.
"We continue to believe in the New Yorker's risk management creed: there is never just one cockroach," Nicholas Colas of DataTrek Research said in a note.
"The blow up in the volatility space yesterday counts as one insect. Where are the rest?"
Colas suggested markets would remain cautious and not rally significantly until it regains confidence.
Oil shares were an especially weak sector after a US Energy Department report showed US oil production last week exceeded 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1983.
Dow member ExxonMobil and Chevron and oil services giants Halliburton and Schlumberger all fell close to two percent.
KEY FIGURES AROUND 2200 GMT (6 a.m. Thursday in Manila)
New York - DOW: DOWN 0.1 percent at 24,893.35 (close)
New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.5 percent at 2,681.66 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.9 percent at 7,051.98 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 1.9 percent at 7,279.42 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.6 percent at 12,590.43 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.8 percent at 5,255.90 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.8 percent at 3,455.83
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 21,645.37 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.9 percent at 30,323.20 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.8 percent at 3,309.26 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2269 from $1.2376 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3881 from $1.3948
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.28 yen from 109.54 yen
Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN $1.35 at $65.51 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $1.60 at $61.79 per barrel
© Agence France-Presse