Asian stocks close mostly up after late rally

HONG KONG, March 11, 2008 (AFP) – Asian stocks closed mostly up after a late rally Tuesday as bargain hunters emerged despite earlier US share price falls sparked by growing worries over a global credit crunch. Most markets around the region reversed early losses to turn higher in late trade, after suffering steep falls on Monday. Dealers said speculation about the possibility of further sharp cuts in US borrowing costs boosted sentiment.

Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Taiwan all closed up around 1.0 percent, while Singapore rose just under 0.9 percent.

In Japan, a pause in the yen’s rise against the dollar cheered investors, since a stronger yen hits exporters.

Elsewhere, Shanghai shrugged off bad Chinese inflation data to end the day up 0.47 percent. Official figures Tuesday said prices spiked 8.7 percent in February, a rate equivalent to a near 12-year high.

Analysts expect China to take more steps to cool its economy, which could hit corporate profits, but investors put such worries aside for the time being.

Kuala Lumpur rallied 2.8 percent after steep losses Monday triggered by unprecedented weekend election losses for Malaysia’s ruling coalition.

Sydney closed down 0.9 percent,