Asian Markets Rebound on Bargain-Hunting

Asian equities were firmly higher on Thursday afteroon, as bargain hunting helped to pull indexes out of early losses. Markets also rebounded after a Chinese government response to a report that it was reviewing its euro zone bond holdings, helped to calm nerves.

U.S. stocks fell overnight on news suggesting China was reassessing its euro-zone debt holdings. The Financial Times report on China fed broad risk aversion as investor worried that the debt crisis could reverse the global economic recovery.

The U.S. DJIA closed below 10,000 for the first time since February, with a late-session downturn in stocks showing that the investor psyche is still fragile.

An official said on Thursday that Beijing remains committed to its long-standing goal of diversifying foreign exchange reserves, dispelling some concerns it would review its euro-zone holdings due to the region's debt woes.

Japan's Nikkei average came off a six-month low to jump 1.2 percent, in its best one-day
performance in two weeks, with a weakening of the yen against the euro helping counter persistent concern about Europe's debt crisis.

The euro rebounded sharply after nearing last week's four-year low earlier in the day, gaining steam as a climb in Asian shares gave a broad lift to yen crosses.

Sony rose 2.1 percent to 2,788 yen, Canon also advanced 2.1 percent to 3,680 yen, and Honda Motor gained 1.2 percent to 2,775 yen. All started the day in negative territory.

The benchmark Nikkei ended 117.06 points higher to 9,639.72 after falling as low as 9,395.29 in early trade, its lowest since early December.

The broader Topix gained 1.3 percent to 869.89.

Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical jumped 5 percent to 3,025 yen after the Nikkei business daily reported French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis will form a capital and operational tie-up with Nichi-Iko as part of a foray into the

Seoul shares turned up to close 1.6 percent higher, driven by steady domestic buying and healthy gains in blue chip technology issues.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished up 1.60 percent at 1,607.50 points.

Index heavyweight and the world's No.1 memory chip maker, Samsung Electronics, rose 2.9 percent. Hynix Semiconductor jumped 3.85 percent.

Financials rebounded from the morning's decline, with Hana Financial Group up 1.2 percent. Shinhan Financial jumped 2.3 percent.

Hanjin Heavy Industries declined 1.6 percent on news that a ship order worth 372.8 billion won ($298.2 million) had been cancelled.

Australia Ends Up 1.7%

Australian shares rose 1.7 percent, as miners gained on optimism that the government would water down a proposed resources tax.

Shares of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals Group, which have all fallen sharply since the tax was announced on May 2, jumped between 4.3 percent and 5.8 percent, building on Wednesday's gains.

Australia's Treasury left open the possibility that it would modify its proposed 40 percent mining tax after newspapers said it was prepared to change the way the tax is calculated in order to appease miners.

The mining tax has been weighing on Australian shares that were already under pressure due to the euro zone's debt problems.

The uncertainty over the tax and mining investments, and a general flight from growth-linked currencies has put off foreign investors and hammered the Australian dollar in recent weeks.

The benchmark index climbed 72 points on Thursday, adding to the 1 percent rise on Wednesday, to end at 4,379.20.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index was up 0.79 percent at 3,034.84 points.

Taiex Stocks Climb

Taiwan stocks finished 1.06 percent higher, as investors snapped up beaten-down stocks but Hon Hai Precision fell on media reports that a tenth employee at its Foxconn unit's China facility had died in an apparent suicide.

The main TAIEX share index ended up 75.81 points at 7,243.16, recovering from losses earlier the session, with cell phone chip designer Mediatek 1.2 percent higher.

Hon Hai, which has been hit by a series of suspected suicides at Foxconn, closed 0.4 percent lower.

China's key stock index advanced 1.15 percent , with resilience in large-cap shares helping to spark a rebound from early weakness on lingering investor concern that China may adopt further measures to clamp down on property prices.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended at 2,655.9 points.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 1.85 percent at 19,547 points.

Esprit surged 6.7 percent, reversing part of its 23.7 percent fall over past nine sessions. Its shares had tumbled due to the euro's slide and concerns that an economic slowdown in the euro zone would hurt the fashion wholesaler and retailer, which derives the bulk of revenue from there.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore's STIrose 1.1 percent while Malaysia's KLCIgained 1.4 percent.