Asian markets ended a volatile week with a firm rally on Friday, which brought most of the major indexes back to Monday's opening levels. A U.S. tax stimulus package, reassuring jobs data and the prospect of another Federal Reserve rate cut buoyed investor sentiment on Wall Street, which then boosted the Asian session. Hong Kong and Bombay stock indexes both gained over 6 percent in the late flourish.
Financial counters moved forward. Banks, such as Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and
Australia's Macquarie Group shrugged off news that a trader at Societe Generale was accused of racking up a $7 billion loss in bad bets on stocks in the biggest trading scandal in banking history. The financial sector also drew support from news that troubled U.S. bond insurer Ambac may be in talks with a buyer.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index notched its biggest one-day percentage gain in over a decade -- closing up 5 percent -- extending their rebound to a third day and recouping all the week's losses, as banks and resource stocks rose on hopes the U.S. could escape a recession. Optimism that strong Chinese growth would help to offset a U.S. slowdown also bolstered sentiment in Australia, which has been feeding as much raw materials as possible into the booming Chinese economy. BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner and its takeover target Rio Tinto surged, helped by higher metals and oil prices.