Asian stocks closed mostly firmer on Friday, supported by a sharp bounce on Wall Street, but the tone remained cautious and investors did not push their luck after a very volatile week, dealers said.
They said the markets certainly welcomed the positive US showing after solid corporate results and more encouraging economic data, but the basic mixed picture on the US outlook remains, especially as far as inflation is concerned.
That may explain why, after an initial spike in early trade, most of the region was content to sit on the gains and prepare for next week with its heavy agenda of company results.
Dealers said they largely expect stocks to hold around current levels but much depends on Wall Street, especially since the sharp gains it posted on Thursday really did no more than make up some of the ground lost recently.
Taiwanese share prices closed 0.44 percent higher, extending modest gains on the back of Wall Street's rally, but investors remained cautious after recent losses and ahead of local corporate first quarter results, dealers said.
They said there was some support from bargain-hunting but the overall tone was hesitant, leaving the market still well short of key levels at 5,800 and 6,000 points.
The TAIEX closed up 25.10 points at 5,747.09, after moving between 5,741.49 and 5,799.73, on turnover of NT$64.46 billion (US$2.04 billion). Risers led decliners 474 to 348, with 186 stocks unchanged.
Japanese share prices closed 0.56 percent higher following sharp gains on Wall Street after strong US economic data and solid corporate results, dealers said.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark NIKKEI-225 index rose 61.56 points to 11,045.95, off the day's high of 11,134.99. The index dropped 2.9 percent for the week.
The broader TOPIX index of all first section shares gained 7.57 points or 0.67 percent to 1,130.89. It fell 1.7 percent for the week.
South Korean share prices closed 0.18 percent higher, finding support from the sharp advance on Wall Street but with the very modest gains reflecting cautious sentiment after recent heavy losses, dealers said.
The KOSPI index closed up 1.65 points at 940.79.
Hong Kong share prices closed 0.71 percent higher as Wall Street's gains following a batch of solid earnings reports encouraged investors to look for bargains among local stocks, dealers said.
They said the market also got a boost from some fund inflows amid renewed speculation over a possible revaluation of the Chinese yuan.
The Hang Seng index closed up 96.24 points at 13,693.55, off a low of 13,649.50 and high of 13,727.44. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was up 58.14 points or 1.25 percent at 4,708.80.
Chinese share prices closed 0.28 percent lower with investors selling the automakers after disappointing results and metal companies hit by falling product prices, dealers said.
They said investors were reluctant to build positions after recent sustained losses on concerns the government will introduce more controls in an effort to cool an economy still growing by leaps and bounds despite previous effort to slow things down.
The Shanghai A-share Index lost 3.50 points to 1,226.33, while the Shenzhen A-share Index fell 4.38 points or 1.46 percent to 295.71.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers both A- and B-shares, lost 3.37 points or 0.29 percent at 1,169.19.