A woman looking at a stock quotation board in Tokyo on Sept. 29, 2015. Japan stocks fell today as a global rally faltered. Reuters

A rally in global stocks paused Thursday as investors waited for more clues on when the U.S. Federal Reserve would start raising interest rates. Stocks on Asian and European exchanges took a hit while U.S. stock futures too pointed to a negative opening, though Chinese stocks surged in the first trading session after a week-long break.

The Shanghai Composite index climbed nearly 3 percent while the smaller Shenzhen Composite index was up more than 4 percent and the Nasdaq-style Chinext index was up 5.17 percent. Chinese stock markets, closed for a week for the week-long Golden Week holiday to mark National Day, were reportedly catching up on the rally they missed.

"Chinese shares got a boost from the global market, especially the U.S. market," said Xiao Shijun, an analyst at Guodu Securities in Beijing, told Reuters.

Asian and other stocks had gained over the past week after disappointing U.S. farm payroll data again fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve would not raise interest rates this year. The Fed meets again Oct. 27-28, but analysts and investors will check the minutes of the Sept. 16-17 meeting, which will be released Thusday, for clues to future moves.

The other significant gainer was Korea's Kospi index, which rose 0.7 percent while Australia's ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent. Japan led the decliners, dropping almost 1 percent. Also down were Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, by 0.7 percent, and India's S&P BSE Sensex, by 0.7 percent.

European stocks opened weak, after Germany announced the steepest drop in exports in seven years. Also, Deutsche Bank warned Wednesday of a possible record 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) loss. Deutsche stock fell at first then recovered as some investors bet the bank's readiness to cut dividends would mean it may not have to raise funds, while a write-down at its investment bank would clean up the bank's finances, according to Reuters.

"Whenever a company clears everything out in one go, it helps to remove the uncertainty around it. They've taken decisive action," said Zeg Choudhry, managing director at LONTRAD, told the news service.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.37 percent while France's CAC-40 index was down 0.2 percent. Germany's DAX index was trading nearly flat. Meanwhile, stock futures on U.S. indexes pointed to a weak opening in American markets with the futures on the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq indexes all down about 0.5 percent.

"Markets are taking a breather after a nice rebound which was due [after a sharp selloff]," Jeroen Blokland, a portfolio manager at Robeco, told the Wall Street Journal, adding: "Fed minutes will be under fierce scrutiny tonight."