Asian stock markets mostly fell on today but off their earlier lows as traders went bargain-hunting despite huge falls in Europe and on Wall Street.
Gold also eased slightly from its record high after breaching the $1,800 barrier for the first time, but the yen edged towards a fresh high against the dollar as dealers poured into safe haven assets.
Tokyo closed 0.63 percent, or 56.80 points, lower at 8,981.94 while Sydney closed flat, edging down 0.5 points to 4,140.8.
Hong Kong fell 0.97 percent in the afternoon, after losing 2.54 percent on opening.
But Seoul — which had earlier lost about four percent — closed 0.62 percent, or 11.20 points, higher at 1,817.44 while Shanghai was up 1.06 percent in late trade.
Regional markets were off their morning lows, which came after Wall Street slumped — with each of the three main indexes losing more than four percent — and Europe was battered by renewed fears over US and eurozone debt.
“In essence, there’s still a lot of fear in the market,” said CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy in Australia.
Asian markets have suffered a rollercoaster week, tumbling from Friday to Tuesday on eurozone fears and the US debt downgrade before rebounding Wednesday after the US said it would hold rates at record lows for two years.
The yen, another safe-haven, moved towards its post-World War II high of 76.25 to the dollar, which it hit in the turbulent week after Japan’s March 11 quake and tsunami disaster.
In early trade the dollar bought 76.60 yen, down from 76.83 yen in New York late Wednesday.
Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda reiterated that he remained attentive to financial markets and had an eye on the yen, a week after the government stepped into the forex market to stem the unit’s rise.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, in a televised legislative committee meeting, echoed Noda’s comment, saying: “We will closely monitor the market and think about ways to deal with it.”
— Manila closed 0.49 percent, or 20.08 points, higher at 4,311.02.