Global equity markets touched a two-year low on Tuesday as the outlook for raw materials prices and emerging markets remained soft, while U.S. biotech shares attempted to stabilize after their recent selloff.

Commodity prices edged up but held near multi-year lows on concern over an economic slowdown in major raw material consumer China. U.S. stocks were higher after suffering their worst drop in nearly a month in the prior session, boosted by the gains in biotechs.

"A lot of traders are hoping that this is the end of the pullback," said Gordon Charlop, a managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York, of the move in equities.

"We'll have to see if this represents a session where things start to turn around a little bit."

Mining and trading company Glencore, whose shares fell by almost a third on Monday on investor concern over its debt levels, bounced up 16.7 percent in London but only after its Hong Kong-listed shares fell 29 percent.

Earlier, Asian shares slid to 3-1/2-year lows on China slowdown concerns.

Copper steadied after hitting a one-month low. It last traded at $4,977.50 a tonne, up 0.3 percent on the day but within reach of a 6-1/2-year low below $4,855.

Platinum fell to a low of $894, its lowest since December 2008, on fears that the emissions scandal embroiling German carmaker Volkswagen could hit demand from the auto sector. It last stood at $908.25, down 0.7 percent.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.6 percent, having dropped 1.7 percent earlier with biotech firms leading the decline.

The sector reversed initial declines in the U.S., however, to show a gain of more than 3 percent as it looked to snap a seven-day losing streak fueled by concerns over government intervention in drug pricing.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid 1.8 percent, having earlier touched its lowest levels since June 2012. MSCI's all-country share index was down 0.3 percent after touching a two-year low.

The flash reading of annual euro zone inflation is due on Wednesday, with a Reuters poll forecasting a zero reading in September. A slip into negative inflation would fuel speculation about further European Central Bank stimulus, six months after the euro zone's central bank launched a massive asset purchase program.

Since the Federal Reserve kept U.S. interest rates on hold on Sept. 17, markets have been puzzling over whether it will hike before the end of 2015.

There were mixed messages from Fed officials on Monday and investors will be looking to a speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday for more clarity, with a key U.S. payrolls report also due on Friday.

"There are a lot of balls juggling at the moment. When you have uncertainty, investors become less confident and less likely to make a stand and commit in a big way," Charlop said.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury note rose 3/32 in price to yield 2.0861 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.95 points, or 0.61 percent, to 16,098.84, the S&P 500 gained 15.68 points, or 0.83 percent, to 1,897.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 45.12 points, or 0.99 percent, to 4,589.08. Brent crude oil, which lost 2.6 percent on Monday, rose 77 cents a barrel to $48.11 while U.S. crude gained 1.6 percent to $45.12 on signs of a tightening U.S. market, although analysts said the outlook remained weak.