In Europe, the FTSE gave up 47 points (-2.2%) whilst the CAC (-2.6%) and DAX (-2.6%) were slightly weaker.
Stateside, the Dow Jones added 153 points (+1.4%) to settle at 10809, whilst the broader S&P 500 (+2.3%) and tech-heavy Nasdaq (+3%) were even stronger.
In the final hour of trade the Dow surged more than 400 points amid reports European finance ministers are discussing ways to recapitalise troubled eurozone banks.
Currency markets were equally volatile with the euro rising from an eight-month low against the US dollar after Fed Chairman Bernanke signalled he may take additional easing steps.
The Aussie dollar has bounced back in the last couple of hours, in line with the recovery on Wall Street. After touching a low of US$0.94, the local unit surged to currently be trading near US$0.955.
Commodities continued to decline, extending the recent slump to a 10-month low on demand concerns. The S&P GSCI commodities index fell 1%, after previously touching its lowest level since 26 November.
Oil fell to a one-year low for a third consecutive session, shedding US$1.94 to US$75.67 a barrel, whilst gold slumped US$41.70 (-2.5%) to settle at US$1616 an ounce.
Today’s session will bring us important data in the form of retail sales, due out at 11:30am, AEDT.