Wall Street saw a mixed close overnight, but still managed to snap a four-day slide amid better-than-expected forecasts from some major retailers.
Despite rising in early trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down eight points at 15,003.
But the S&P 500 held on to finish 0.38 per cent higher at 1,652, and the Nasdaq added 0.68 per cent to 3,614.
Once again ongoing concerns that the US Federal Reserve will start timing back its stimulus program next month prompted selling late in trade.
Tonight the minutes from the August Federal Reserve meeting will be released, which should provide markets with more guidance on the bank's next move.
In company news, Eastman Kodak, once the biggest name in photography has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will begin trading again soon as a small digital imaging company.
Across the Atlantic, Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said for the first time that Greece will need another bailout to plug a forthcoming funding gap.
It is expected to be less than the previous $US320 billion bailout.
European markets all went into decline, falling in sympathy with the declines seen in the Asian session.
France's CAC lost 1.35 per cent, the German DAX index retreated 0.79 per cent.
The Eurostoxx dropped 0.8 per cent.
The Australian dollar continued to slide against the greenback overnight, and at 8:30am (AEST) was buying 90.7 US cents.
The spot gold price rose overnight to $US1,371 an ounce.
West Texas crude saw a sharp fall and closed at $US104.9 a barrel, while Singapore's Tapis is only slightly lower from this time yesterday at $US116.70.