Led by Tokyo, most Asian stock markets rose today after heavy losses the previous day, but brokers said that investors remained edgy about the Persian Gulf crisis and that nothing suggested stocks are in for a major upturn any time soon.
The Nikkei average of 225 Japanese stocks closed almost 500 points or 1.9% higher at 26,672.53, but was still far from erasing Monday's huge 1,153-point plunge--the seventh-largest point slide on record.
Brokers said the main buyers on a slow day were bargain-hunting financial institutions, but the market was still overshadowed by Middle East uncertainties and worries over interest rates.
Volume, by normal standards, was low, but good considering that the day's trade came in the middle of Japan's vacation season. The number of shares traded rose to 380 million from 250 million Monday.
Bargains were also snapped up in Hong Kong and Taipei, which both rose. Sydney gained, largely due to a continuing surge in the gold sector after rises in bullion prices.
Thai investors bucked the trend, with the Bangkok index down sharply after Monday's market holiday. Brokers said investors desperate to get out of the market cashed in on Friday's rebound.