Asian stocks advanced Friday as the commitment of the central banks to support global economic growth continued to buoy investor sentiment.
Japanese benchmark Nikkei gained 0.25 percent or 23.02 points to 9110.00, Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.61 percent or 125.73 points to 20716.65 and Chinese Shanghai Composite gained 0.09 percent or 1.85 points to 2026.69, while South Korean KOSPI Composite advanced 0.60 percent and Indian benchmark BSE Sensex rallied 2.24 percent.
Asian markets rebounded last trading day of the week to offset some of the losses in the previous session. Markets were on track to post first weekly losses in three weeks as weak economic reports from major economies and tensions between China and Japan dampened sentiment.
Markets tumbled Thursday on the news that Japan's trade deficit widened in August and Chinese manufacturing activity continued to contract for the 11th straight month, suggesting that the world's second-largest economy is on track for a seventh quarter of slowing growth in the third quarter this year. However, market sentiment was recovered gradually following better-than-expected Philly Fed Index and on news that European authorities are working for a new rescue programme for Spain.
Meanwhile, the optimism on easing measures announced by the central banks has undermined concerns about the debt crisis affecting the euro zone and supports risk assets. Following the policy actions by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan joined the stimulus bloc this week by expanding its asset purchase program.
"The general consensus at the moment is that any major dips in the market will be supported by the fact that central banks are happy to act," Stan Shamu, market analyst at IG Markets, told Reuters.
Indian stocks rallied led by gains from aviation, retail and broadcasting sectors after the government implemented the decision to liberalize foreign investment in these sectors. Pantaloon Retail climbed 6.5 percent and Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. surged 4.80 percent while Reliance Infra climbed 9.76 percent.
In Tokyo, Canon Inc. gained 0.94 percent and Tokyo Electron Ltd. declined 2.06 percent while Sharp Corp. rallied 4.95 percent after Mainichi Shimbun reported that the company was in talks with Intel for a possible capital tie-up.
Energy sector shares advanced after the plunge in the previous session as crude oil prices rebounded after three days of steep losses. PetroChina Co Ltd. gained 1.2 percent in Hong Kong and Inpex Corp. advanced 1.98 percent.
In Hong Kong, China Telecom Corp Ltd. gained 1.77 percent and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. advanced 2.09 percent while Li & Fung Ltd. plunged 2.56 percent.