Stocks in the United States and Britain faltered on Wednesday after a three-day rally.
Falling crude prices hurt energy stocks and Disney earnings dragged down the Dow industrials.
The market's decline was broad, with five stocks falling for every one rising on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Dow Jones Index fell 130 points, or more than 1%, to close at 12,630.
The Nasdaq Composite fell 27 points, or 0.9%, to finish at 2845.
The FTSE 100 in London fell below 6000 after the commodity and banking stocks sectors came under pressure from Greece's debt problems.
The index closed down 43 points, or 0.7%, at 5976 after reaching a one-week closing high on Tuesday.
Across the Tasman, the Australian 200 Index rose 55 points, or 1.2%, to close at 4780 on Wednesday.
The NZX 50 rose 30 points, or 0.9%, to 3559 - it's highest for nearly three years.
At 8.15am on Thursday, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 78.87 US cents, 73.75 Australian cents, 48.26 pence, 63.87 yen and 0.5554 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 68.24.
Brent crude oil was trading at $US116.75 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1500 per ounce.