What a dizzying week.

Asian markets rallied for a second day Friday, recovering from a plunge Tuesday that sent stocks in the region to their lowest levels in months.

Cheered by overnight gains on Wall Street, investors scooped up stocks that had tumbled in recent weeks, lifting Japan's key index by 2.8 percent and Hong Kong's market by 2.6 percent.

India's benchmark index soared 3.6 percent, while South Korean shares rose 3.5 percent.

The gains brought several markets close to where they started the week. After its wild swings, India's Sensex ended the week up 0.8 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose a scant 0.9 percent for the week.

Investor sentiment Friday got a double boost from gains in U.S. stocks and from comments Thursday by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assuaging some concerns about inflation. He said that record energy and commodity prices could account for some of the gains in core prices but that inflation expectations have remained within historical ranges.

Mr. Bernanke's comment had a tremendous impact on the Tokyo market as well, relieving some fears over inflationary pressure, said Tsuyoshi Segawa, a strategist of Shinko Securities Co. The Tokyo market just followed up Wall Street's rally.

While the Fed is now widely expected to raise U.S. interest rates at its policy meeting later this month, the comments seemed to provide some clarity on the outlook for the U.S. economy, the biggest market for Asian exports.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 408.58 points, or 2.82 percent, to finish at 14,879.34 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The market has rallied 4.65 percent the last three days after tumbling more than 4 percent on Tuesday to the lowest since last November. For the week, the index is up 0.87 percent.

Technology, banks and nonferrous metals issues led the advance. Gainers included Elpida Memory Inc., Sharp Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Financial Group Inc.

In Hong Kong, the blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 407.57 points, or 2.64 percent, to 15,842.65.

The local market has hit the bottom after the recent correction, said Kenny Tang, associate director of Tung Tai Securities. The chance of another sharp fall is not great in the near term, unless overseas markets performed poorly.

China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd., the largest mobile operator in China by revenue, jumped 4.2 percent to HK$42.0.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar was trading at 114.74 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market late Friday, down 0.26 yen from late Thursday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.2658 from US$1.2609.


BANGKOK: Exchange of Thailand index closed up 17.07 points at 665.39 after sharp losses in recent weeks and modest gains of 0.3 percent Thursday.

BOMBAY: Indian shares rose for a second day, with 30-share Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange rising 339 points to 9,885 points.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shares were led by gains in construction issues, with the weighted Composite Index of 100 blue-chip stocks rose 0.8 percent, or 7.02 points, to end at 893.50.

MANILA: Philippine shares rose for a second day, with the benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 39.67 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,121.47, adding to Thursday's 0.7 percent gain.

SEOUL: The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, or Kospi, rose 3.5 percent, or 42.79 points, to close at 1,262.19.

SHANGHAI: China's shares ended higher for the second session as they tracked gains in Asian stock markets, with banks again leading. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks both A and B shares, ended up 2.64 percent at 1,574.47.

SINGAPORE: The benchmark Straits Times Index ended up 71.48 points or 3.1 percent, at 2,373.91.

SYDNEY: The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 99.3 points, or 2 percent, to 4,969, while the All Ordinaries climbed 96.7 points to 4,932.2.

TAIPEI: Taiwan's shares rose sharply, led by construction companies. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange rose 149.38 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,575.77.

WELLINGTON: The benchmark NZX-50 index ended up 29.7 points, or 0.8 percent, at 3,558.87.