Stock markets plunged on Monday after weak Chinese economic data rekindled fears of a global slowdown, prompting a near-$20 billion injection by the People's Bank of China to stabilise its markets.
US stocks closed sharply lower on Monday, with the Dow making its worst start to a year since 2008. Weak US factory data also added to the worries.
Global stocks were down on Tuesday but off the lows they hit in the previous session.
"I think everybody's finally getting settled back in and they're trying to assess really how global growth is going to impact their investments for the rest of the year," said Kevin Kelly, CIO of Recon Capital Partners.
"You will see market volatility throughout the rest of the month, but you'll start to see the market have a couple of up days because people are putting money to work," he said.
Crude oil was lower as investors fretted about the state of the Chinese economy, a stronger dollar and rising tensions in the Middle East.
At 1438 GMT (8:08 p.m. in India), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 22.12 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 17,171.06, the S&P 500 was up 4.5 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 2,017.16 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 9.26 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 4,912.35.
Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.68 per cent rise in health stocks.
Gilead rose 1.2 per cent to $99.21 after its experimental hepatitis B drug was found safer than but as effective as its approved treatment, Viread. The stock provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
First Solar was up 6.5 per cent at $71.08 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy".
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,703 to 958. On the Nasdaq, 1,185 issues rose and 979 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed two new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded six new highs and 11 new lows.
© Thomson Reuters 2016