European stock markets rose on Tuesday as investors snapped up bargain shares, but dealers remained on edge over the eurozone debt crisis which has pushed Italian and Spanish bond yields up to danger levels.
Most Asian stocks fell in earlier deals as the eurozone debt crisis rumbled on, while lawmakers in Washington remained deadlocked on an agreement to avoid a potentially catastrophic US default.
However, in Tuesday morning deals, London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies added 0.51 percent to 5,782 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 1.54 percent to 7,216.22 points and in Paris the CAC 40 won 1.28 percent to 3,697.83.
Madrid's stock market added 1.63 percent and Milan gained 2.24 percent in value. Both Italy and Spain are regarded as the most at-risk indebted eurozone nations after Greece, Ireland and Portugal were bailed out by the EU/IMF.
The European single currency climbed to $1.4204 in late morning trading, compared with $1.4117 late in New York on Monday.
"For now at least investors feel that the market might have sold off a little too much and have seen this level as a good buying opportunity," said analyst Simon Denham at trading firm Capital Spreads.
But at the same time, safe-haven gold surged to another record high at $1,610.10 per ounce on Tuesday, as investors sought shelter from the eurozone debt storm, which will be tackled at a Brussels summit on Thursday.
European markets had plunged on Monday as investors expressed deep concern over recent EU stress tests which failed just eight out of 91 financial institutions -- and did not assess the impact of a sovereign default.
"The European stress tests over the weekend were interpreted as a bit of a sham by investors who aggressively sold banking stocks for fear that a sovereign default could cause a Lehman-style crash," added Denham, in reference to the collapsed US investment bank which sparked the 2008 global financial crisis.
"This would be well and truly catastrophic for not just Europe but the global economy as the banking system would lock up again just as it did in 2007 during the credit crunch and funding to businesses and individuals would freeze, sending us spiralling back into recession.
"This is an extreme scenario, but investors were pricing in the possibility yesterday which is why banks got hammered."
Stocks were also hit on Monday as the costs for the Italian and Spanish governments to borrow for 10 years ballooned to the highest levels since the creation of the eurozone.
The rate or yield on both 10-year Italian debt and 10-year Spanish debt spiked above 6.0 percent, which is widely considered to be a significant threshold on financial markets, but they eased on Tuesday. However, Spain had to pay sharply increased yields during a sale of short-term debt.
"The eurozone debt turmoil has taken another turn for the worse, this time the markets are focusing on the banking sector stress test results -- that were not stressed enough -- and the EU summit on Thursday," said Forex.com research director Kathleen Brooks.
She noted that there was "pressure on the currency bloc's leaders to come up with a second bailout for Greece complete with a final decision on the role of private-sector bond holders.
"Added to that, data from the (ECB) yesterday showed that it had not stepped up its purchases of eurozone government bonds even though the sovereign debt crisis has escalated. This is not going to fill the Spanish authorities with much confidence."
Meanwhile, prospects remain unclear regarding the debate between Democrats and Republicans in Washington over raising the US government's debt ceiling.
The White House has warned that the debt limit must be raised by August 2 to prevent a default, which economists and business leaders warn would have deeply destabilising consequences for the global economy.
Last week, rating agencies S&P and Moody's threatened a possibility of lowering their US debt ratings amid the political standoff.