With U.S markets closed for Thanksgiving, focus was focused on Europe where a surge in COVID 19 cases is raising the possibility of a lock-in going into the Christmas shopping season.
Concerns had knocked the pan-European STOXX 600 index to a three-week low on Wednesday, but it was up almost half a percent as a tech sector gain offset the eighth straight fall in travel and leisure stocks.
Marija Veitmane, global markets strategist at State Street Global Markets, said that firms' earnings were still robust and that borrowing costs are still very low.
Data is an indicator of the bullishness underpinning equity markets. BofA strategists say that the year-to-date inflows into equity funds have plummeted past the $1 trillion mark, more than the combined 19 years of flows.
After Social Democrat and former finance minister Olaf Scholz struck a three-way coalition deal that sees him replace Angela Merkel as the head of Europe's largest economy, there was a small dip in German yields in the government bond markets, which drive those borrowing costs.
It was the first fall in yields in three days. Dirk Schmacher, head of European Macro Research at Natixis, said the debate on inflation is still there, whether it is temporary or not.
He also noted the renewed lockdown in Austria and the rising COVID 19 case numbers in parts of Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
Emerging markets saw some relative calm after a turbulent few days that saw Turkey's lira battered again, Russia and Ukraine tensions rise, and Mexico's president worry about central bank independence by installing a virtual unknown at thehelm.
The lira shrugged off early losses to rise 0.5%, extending Wednesday's gains after a brutal 11 day, 24% losing streak after President Tayyip Erdogan backed more interest rates cuts.
Russia's rouble moved away from recent four month lows because Moscow said it hadn't turned its back on Eastern Ukraine peace talks, while South Africa's rand recovered from a one-year trough.
In Asia overnight, the tech recovery that had been kicked off by the Nasdaq helped Japan's Nikkei finish 0.7% higher and made Hong Kong's tech index snap six sessions of losses.
Other share moves were more muted. The broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat after little movement all day, according to the broadest index of MSCI.
Fook-Hien Yap, senior investment strategist at Standard Chartered Bank Wealth Management said in broad terms, when it comes to regional equities allocation, we're watching the U.S. dollar make new highs and that's a headwind for emerging market equities.
The dollar is near its highest level in almost five years against the Japanese currency at 115.3 yen, and consolidating a near 18 month high against the euro, which was a fraction higher at $1.1222.
Several U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers have said in recent days that they would be open to speeding up the tapering of the central bank's bond-buying programme if the high inflation rate holds, and move faster to raise interest rates, minutes of the Fed's Nov. 2 -- 3 policy meeting showed.
We think that is overly aggressive, because the market is pricing in more than two hikes next year. Yap said we are only looking for one hike next year. Goldman Sachs expects to see three rate hikes next year.
Expectations have pushed the U.S. treasury yields higher, albeit inconsistent, with benchmark 10 year notes closing for the Thanksgiving break at 1.6427% and as high as 1.6930% on Wednesday.
U.S. Treasuries and U.S stock markets will resume on Friday despite a shortened session, meaning trading is almost certain to be thin.
Oil prices saw-sawed after a turbulent few days in which the United States said it would release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South Korea, Japan and Britain to try to cool oil prices after calls to OPEC to pump more went unheeded.
After more than a week of signals from the major players, investors had already priced the move, so Brent actually jumped on Wednesday. It was trading at $82 a barrel in London last week, up 6% from the week's lows, but was down fractionally lower on the day.