A global stocks rally hit a roadblock on Thursday (Feb 18), with European markets mixed and Wall Street sliding as concerns about the global economic outlook returned to the forefront.
CMC Markets UK analyst Jasper Lawler noted however that Europe's main markets "have moved higher for four of the last five days" as concerns about low oil prices, a devaluation of the Chinese yuan and US rate hikes were alleviated.
"While none of these events have fundamentally changed anything, they have already begun to trigger a sharp bear market rally, which potentially has a lot further to go," he said.
London ended 1.0 per cent lower as commodity firms dragged down the FTSE 100, but Paris ended marginally higher and Frankfurt up 0.9 per cent.
While rebounding oil prices boosted shares for energy companies, there were still large concerns over general weaker demand for commodities, especially from China, hurting other commodities firms.
The OECD on Thursday cut its forecast for 2016 global growth to 3.0 per cent from 3.3 per cent owing to disappointing data, sluggish demand, weak investment and a high risk of financial instability.
"Financial instability risks are substantial," the 34-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its latest interim outlook, urging a strong collective response to combat sagging global growth, which it predicts will not surpass 2015's already pallid showing.
The Paris-based body trimmed its outlook for this year as growth slows in many emerging countries and advanced economies only expected to achieve modest recovery after a 2015 that saw the slowest growth in five years.
After tumbling heavily so far this year, US and European stocks had rallied Wednesday, with Paris winning 3.0 per cent, as strength in Chinese equities and oil prices lifted energy and commodities shares.
Asian stocks played catch-up Thursday, with most indices across the region producing strong gains, with a surge in crude futures providing some much-needed confidence as key producer Iran praised an output freeze by Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Traders appeared to shrug off figures that showed Japan fell back into a trade deficit in January as exports to China plunged.
However, Shanghai stocks closed slightly lower, ending two days of gains as tepid Chinese inflation figures in January failed to boost the market, dealers said.
Equities turned lower on Wall Street on Thursday, with the Dow down 0.2 per cent approaching midday. Dow member Walmart dropped 4.9 per cent after it cut its fiscal 2017 sales forecast due to store closures and the strong dollar.
Meanwhile, the euro fell back under US$1.11 for the first time in two weeks after the ECB released the minutes of its last monetary policy meeting, which economist Jessica Hinds at Capital Economics said pointed to further easing at their next meeting in March.
"Against a backdrop of increased global market turmoil, Governing Council members widely agreed that risks to both economic growth and inflation lay to the downside and, to a certain extent, were already materialising," she said in a note to clients.