The German DAX slid 2.4 percent, while the Nikkei 225 index rebounded 3.9 percent.
On Wednesday, stocks rebounded from their recent losses with a dizzying climb that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average take its biggest leap in history, zooming up nearly 1,100 points. Even so, the market remains headed for what could be its steepest annual loss since the financial crisis.
Barely seven stocks on the S&P 500 were higher, while all the 30 components of the Dow were in the red.
Wall Street expects S&P 500 earnings growth to drop by more than half from this year's 20.3 percent rate, in part because companies will no longer be getting the boost of the first year of new tax rates, according to FactSet.
That overshadowed positive noises from the US government on trade talks with Beijing, its efforts to temper the White House's recent broadsides against the Federal Reserve and a Mastercard Inc report that USA holiday shopping sales had risen the most in six years in 2018.
It's not as if all the world's problems were suddenly solved over Christmas-the US government remains shut, the trade war continues, the economic worries that helped knock the market from its all-time highs earlier this year loom in the background.
The bank executives assured the Mnuchin that "they have ample liquidity available for lending to consumer, business markets, and all other market operations", he wrote. Late Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Commerce Department won't be releasing its usual economic data during the government shutdown, which is now in its sixth day.
Stock market volatility works in both directions.
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Jackson also highlighted how investigators were unable to find anyone who witnessed the actual groping. The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
Santa was nowhere to be found on Wall Street this Christmas Eve.
This was after the comments by the treasury secretary which had raised eyebrows on the matter of the increasing trade with China.
But what really might have pushed stocks over the top was a signal from Washington that President Donald Trump would not try to oust the chairman of the Federal Reserve. "This is a disaster for the Fed, a disaster for the president and a disaster for the economy".
December is typically a buoyant month for stocks.
In Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei swung between gains and losses Wednesday before closing up almost 1%. Oil's best rally since 2016 added to the equity surge.
For the current fiscal year, the stocks are in negative. The worst three were Coca-Cola adding 2.43% McDonald's Corp adding 2.20% and Verizon Communications Inc, adding 2.62%. Some traders have suggested that the market has gotten to the point where a short-term bounce could occur, if only for technical reasons.
The NYSE closes early on Monday at 1 p.m. ET.
Trading resumed Thursday for European markets, which were closed for the festive season.
Ten of the S&P's 11 sectors are in correction coming into Wednesday, although all were higher in early trades.