Japan's stock market wasn't able to extend its one-day rally Thursday, but U.S. shares appeared headed for a better session.
The Nikkei 225, which climbed 489 points on Wednesday to stop a sharp decline that was driven by last week's earthquake, fell 131 points, or 1.4%. At the same time, the yen was weakening slightly against the dollar after hitting an all-time best level against the U.S. currency a day ago.
Stocks in New York seemed to be on better footing, with Nasdaq and S&P futures signaling early gains for Wall Street.
Last time out, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 242 points, or 2%, to 11,613, for its third straight drop and its lowest finish of 2011. No stocks among its 30 members rose.
The primary drags on the index included IBM, Exxon Mobil and Boeing. The pullback also pushed the Dow close to break-even for the year. Currently, it's up 0.3% for the past two and a half months, according to data from Dow Jones Indexes.