Asian markets rose this week amid hopes that policy makers would take concrete measures to tackle the financial crisis and regain the economic growth momentum.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.2 percent this week and closed at 8459.26. South Korea's Kospi Index advanced 0.1 percent and closed at 1835.64.
G7 finance ministers had a teleconference Tuesday, during which they decided to jointly sort out the economic concerns in Spain and Greece.
Investor confidence was also boosted by a press conference by the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt Wednesday as it raised hopes that concrete steps might be taken to handle the economic situation in the euro zone. After leaving interest rates on hold at 1.0 percent, the ECB seemed focused on calming markets at its press conference.
Market sentiment was positive following the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book report, which reflected a positive outlook and stated that the economy was progressing steadily at a moderate pace. The market response was positive as the outcome of the U.S. May ISM (Institute for Supply Management) nonmanufacturing index came as a relief, with the index rising to 53.7 from 53.5.
Market confidence was boosted as China's services activity in May grew at the fastest rate in 19 months, according to the HSBC Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) released Tuesday. The services PMI rose to 54.7 in May, compared to 54.1 in April.
Encouraged by global cues, India's BSE Sensex rose 4.7 percent and closed at 16718.87. The market improved this week as the rupee strengthened to a certain degree after falling to a record low of 56.52 against the dollar last week. Investors were also confident that the Reserve Bank of India would intervene and ease the monetary policy to boost economic growth.
Investor confidence was also strengthened by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's comments Monday that India's situation was nowhere near that in 1991 as the country's fundamentals were very strong. He added that India's foreign exchange reserve was very high in comparison with that in 1991.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.3 percent and it closed at 18502.34. China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 3.9 percent and it closed at 2281.45. Investor confidence could not be rejuvenated even as the People's Bank of China cut the benchmark interest rate Thursday by 25 basis points, which was the first rate cut of its kind since 2008.
Market sentiment was dampened Friday after U.S. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke refused to commit to additional monetary easing measures during his congressional testimony on the country's economic outlook Thursday.
Major Gainers: Shares of Larsen & Toubro advanced 15.4 percent as Indian government is pushing for more infrastructure projects. Shares of HSBC climbed 3.5 percent and shares of Samsung Electronics rose 1.1 percent.
Week Ahead: The markets could return to red next week as growth slowdown in China and the continuing debt crisis of the euro zone may weigh down the market sentiment. The Asian markets could turn bearish unless some positive steps are announced by policy makers to revive the global economy.