US Treasuries gained, as did the price of oil, while the greenback weakened, amid renewed bets that the Federal Reserve might hold off raising interest rates this year.
Wall Street was mixed, trading near record highs.
Minutes from the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting, released on Wednesday, suggested the central bank won't hike rates at its next meeting in September, or even at all in 2016.
"Central banks are going to remain quite accommodating," Benno Galliker, a trader at Switzerland's Luzerner Kantonalbank, told Bloomberg.
"Rates are going down and down and down."
Wall Street was mixed. In 3.01pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.03 per cent. However, the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.2 per cent. In 2.46pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index eked out a 0.08 per cent increase.
In the Dow, declines in shares of Cisco and those of Caterpillar, down 1.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively, offset advances in shares of Wal-Mart and those of Chevron, up 1.8 per cent and 0.9 respectively.
Shares of Cisco fell, weighing on other tech stocks, after the company said it will axe 5,500 jobs and disappointed with its outlook.
Shares of Caterpillar fell after the company posted a slide in machine retail sales, recording a 19 per cent drop for the three-month rolling period ended in July from the year-earlier period.
Shares of Wal-Mart gained after the company posted better-than-expected quarterly results and upgraded its full-year earnings estimate.
"We're pleased with the positive momentum in our business," Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart CEO, said in a statement.
"We remain focused on building e-commerce capabilities globally and executing our omni-channel plan, as evidenced by our recent alliance with JD.com in China and agreement to acquire Jet.com in the US."
Chevron shares gained with the price of oil, which continued its recent ascent.
Brent rose above US$50 a barrel. Exxon Mobil shares last traded 0.7 per cent higher.
Rates are going down and down and down.
SHARE THIS QUOTE:
In the latest US jobs data, a Labor Department report showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell more than expected, down 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000 for the week ended August 13.
"The unemployment claims data point to continued low layoff rates and a solid pace of job growth," John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York, told Reuters.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.7 per cent climb from the previous close. It was the gauge's first gain in five days, according to Bloomberg. The UK's FTSE 100 index rose 0.1 per cent, France's CAC 40 index gained 0.4 per cent, while Germany's DAX index advanced 0.6 per cent.