World stocks flirted with gains after two sessions of losses on Monday with Japan's Nikkei hitting an 11-week closing low but Europe climbing and Wall Street looking set for a positive start.
The dollar was generally weaker and the Australian dollar gained on talk of interest rate hikes.
Friday's worse-than-expected U.S. jobs report continued to weigh and investors were also wary ahead of the new U.S. corporate earnings season, which begins this week.
The tone of the market has been dominated by the (U.S.) employment report, said Bernard McAlinden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers. The market was overbought, and had had a diet of positive surprises.
World stocks as measured by MSCI were barely up for a month-to-date loss of around 3 percent. Investors have been pulling back from equities a bit after a hefty rally that began in March.
But the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> was up around 0.4 percent. lifted by miners and banks, after hitting a four-week closing low on Friday.
Japan's Nikkei average <.N225>, however, fell 0.6 percent to hit an 11-week closing low, dented by shares of exporters on concerns over the fragility of the U.S. economic recovery.
The latest U.S. earnings season begin on Wednesday when aluminum company Alcoa Inc
With second-quarter earnings primarily boosted by cost-cutting, investors want to see if the latest quarterly results will show an improvement in revenues.
The dollar fell, losing ground after a G7 ministers meeting at the weekend brought no surprises, while the Australian dollar gained as speculation mounted the country's central bank could raise rates this week.
The dollar index <.DXY>, a measure of the greenback's performance against six major currencies, fell 0.2 percent, while the euro climbed to $1.4624 after ending around $1.4575 on Friday.
Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers, who met in Istanbul at the weekend, broke no new ground on currencies, urging China to strengthen the yuan to help correct global imbalances and saying too much forex volatility tended to threaten economic stability.
It was the usual mantra about FX volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates which we've seen time and time again, said Mitul Kotecha, global head of FX strategy at Calyon in Hong Kong.
Euro zone government bond yields were barely changed.
(Additional reporting by Brian Gorman and Charlotte Cooper, editing by Chris Pizzey)