In its report on global economic prospects for 2009, the UN is expected to discuss a "synchronised global downturn".

Trading on sentiment

Still, the market's recent resilience could be a sign that many have already started positioning for a possible turnaround in the world economy and equities prices later in the year.

"We are still trading more on sentiment than fundamentals, and the sentiment is that fiscal stimulus will allow the economy to recover," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist for CFC Seymour in Hong Kong.

"The market is relatively cheap, and with investors hoping for a recovery in the global economy in the second half, it makes sense to buy now before that happens."