Asian stocks ended strongly as US economic data encouraged investors seeking bargains in diminished shares.
The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China rose 4.8% to close at 3,232.35, adding to its 5.3% gain on Thursday, which was its first increase in six days.
During the previous five days, it had shed nearly 23%. Most of Shanghai’s gains came in the last hour of trading, a pattern repeated from Thursday that led some to believe that Beijing was again intervening in the market to prop up prices.
Dickie Wong, executive director at Kingston Financial Group, said: “It’s just the state-owned funds that jumped in. I don’t know which ones, but definitely from the state.”
He said “they have to complete their order, so they jumped in at the last hour (because) time is running out”.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 3% to close at 19,136.32 after lacklustre monthly data on inflation and household spending raised hopes of further stimulus.
South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.6% to 1,937.16 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng swung into a loss in the final hour of trading, losing 1% to 21,612.39. Australia’s SandP/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 5,263.60.
The dollar slipped to 120.87 yen from 121.12 in late trading on Thursday. The euro climbed to 1.1274 US dollars from 1.1242 dollars.
Benchmark US crude oil fell 28 cents to 42.28 dollars in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday the contract posted its biggest one-day gain in six years, leaping 3.96 dollars, or 10.3%, to 42.56 dollars a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils imported by US refineries, fell 3 cents to 47.53 dollars in London.