Asian markets extended a global equities rebound Wednesday after recent losses while riskier assets also ticked up but dealers remained cautious ahead of a US interest rate decision.
However, ongoing concern continued to drag on confidence and Shanghai again saw volatile trading, swinging from negative to positive in early exchanges.
Thursday's rate decision by the Federal Reserve will be closely watched as policymakers weigh a healthy US recovery with a slowdown across most of the world and recent turmoil unleashed by fears over an economic crisis in China.
And with the latest indicators out of Washington giving no more clues, the Fed's work remains complicated, which has in turn kept investors on edge.
"Uncertainty will continue until we get the news from the Fed," James Lindsay at Nikko Asset Management NZ in Auckland told
"The market is finely balanced on whether the Fed will move or not. There's been uncertainties about China and global growth but the US economy looks strong enough to be able to withstand an increase in rates."
Experts have warned that a Fed hike in borrowing costs could severely hurt the struggling world economy, and especially damage emerging markets as investors draw their cash out and turn to the United States looking for better, safer returns.
Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Seoul stocks each rallied about one percent in the morning. Shanghai was up 0.50 percent, having fallen 0.24 percent at the open.
The gains tracked advances in the New York and Europe following a mixed bag of US data on retail sales and industrial output.
"There was a lot of data released overnight, but not a lot that really convinced us either way," said Emma Lawson, a currency strategist at National Australia Bank in Sydney, in a note.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all soared more than one percent, while London, Paris and Frankfurt also saw healthy gains.
With economists mostly tipping the central bank to hold off its first rate rise in nine years, higher-yielding, or riskier, currencies were given a boost, with the Singapore dollar up 0.13 percent and Malaysian ringgit 0.40 percent higher.
South Korea's won rallied 0.63 percent a day after the country's credit rating was increased by Standard & Poor's.
The greenback was also down at 120.23 yen from 120.40 yen in New York.
Oil prices extended gains from the previous day that come from signs of a slowdown in US production, which would be welcomed at a time of a global glut.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was up 0.65 percent and Brent for November, a new contract, advanced 0.56 percent.