Investors were bracing for another weak day on Wall Street Friday.
Japan's Nikkei, which plunged 7% Thursday, finished a rocky trading day with a 0.9% gain.
"In Tokyo we've seen an attempt at a recovery," said Nick Beecroft, senior market analyst at Saxo Capital Markets. "That's a pretty normal profile for market action in a correction such as this."
U.S. stocks closed slightly lower Thursday, after clawing back from declines of nearly 1% earlier in the day.
Shares of Dow component Procter & Gamble ( rose in premarket trading after the company )ousted CEO Bob McDonald and replaced him with his predecessor A.G. Lafley. The company had been under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman to make the move.
Pandora ( jumped more than 12% after the music site reported better-than-expected revenue and a slightly smaller-than-forecast loss after the close Thursday. )
But there were bad quarterly results that sent other stocks sharply lower. Sears Holding (and )Abercrombie & Fitch ( both plunged more than 10% as the retailers reported larger than expected losses in the most recent quarter. )
Shares in Salesforce.com ( slid nearly 7% as the company offered a weak 2014 outlook. )Gap ( shares also fell on weak guidance. )
In economic news, new orders for durable goods rose 3.3% in April, following a drop of 5.9% in March, according to the Commerce Department. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had predicted a 1.6% rise.
European markets staged a mild recovery in early trade after falling by roughly 2% Thursday, but by mid-session had turned mixed, with the region's strongest performers of late -- London's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX 30 -- dropping by about 0.6%.