Global stocks eked out gains on Thursday while the euro fell as data suggested Europe's debt woes were spreading and worsening a global economic slowdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> closed up 33.60 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,529.75. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 <.SPX> finished up 1.82 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,320.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> ended down 10.74 points, or 0.38 percent, at 2,839.38.

The late bounce in U.S. stocks pushed the MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> back above 300 points. It ended up 0.3 percent following Wednesday's 1.2 percent drop.

The MSCI world index was buoyed earlier on a rebound in European shares. The FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of top European stocks closed up 1.1 percent at 982.61 after slipping 2.2 percent in choppy trade on Wednesday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei <.N225> closed up 0.1 percent at 8,563.38.

The euro last traded down 0.4 percent at $1.2534 after falling to $1.2514, near a two-year low. It is down nearly 3.2 percent on the year versus the dollar.