Asian stocks close mostly up
Asian stocks closed mostly up Friday but that failed to dispel much gloom after this year's share price plunge, with the key Japanese market continuing its longest losing streak in decades.
The Tokyo bourse fell 0.21 percent for the 12th consecutive trading day, doing so for the first time since the 1950s as the potential economic damage from soaring oil prices again hit investor sentiment.
The Taiwan stock market tumbled more than two percent despite the historic launch of regular direct flights between the island and its rival China for the first time in nearly six decades.
Investors in Asia are worried that surging inflation amid high crude oil and food prices will end up slowing economic growth, dimming the prospects for Asian stocks even though they have fallen steeply since their peak last year.
Many were looking ahead to the annual summit in Japan next week of the Group of Eight (G8) industrial powers, which is expected to tackle the issue of high oil and food costs.
Among other key Asian markets, China and South Korea fell, but Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore ended higher.
India rallied more than 2.5 percent despite official figures showing inflation stood at a more than 13-year high of over 11 percent. But the Mumbai bourse overall has tumbled since the start of the year.
Investors also continue to worry about the ailing US economy, which is battling to recover from a financial crisis and steep housing market downturn.