Analysts in Asia say much of the gains made at the end of the week were due to a technical rebound, following a three-day decline. A rally on Wall Street also buoyed shares on Thursday and Friday.
Japan's Nikkei 2-25 index was up half a percent from a week ago, closing Friday at 9,530. Banking shares made the biggest gains. Analysts say investors think the government is likely to shore up troubled banks with public funds. However, top Japanese officials have not yet agreed on how to bail out banks burdened with bad loans.
Hong Kong's main share index recovered some of its losses early in the week, after the government announced plans to boost the territory's flagging property market. The Hang Seng ended at 9,294, down 34 points from last Friday.
"Basically, the market has been led by the property sectors, especially the developers," explained Herbert Lau, head of research at Celestial Asia Securities, "mainly because the market anticipates that the government will have a lot of measures, which will try to reduce the supply of the subsidized housing into the market."
Despite the gains, Mr. Lau says the Hang Seng is unlikely to break above the 10,000 point level before the year's end.
Taiwan's benchmark index ended the week four percent down from a week ago. It closed at 4,208. Analysts say the losses are due in part to the index's high exposure to technology stocks, which are more sensitive to losses in technology shares in the United States. Others blamed Friday's fall on profit taking from Thursday's gains.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing slid nearly 1.5 percent, while its rival United Microelectronics sank about 2.5 percent.
Early gains on Seoul's Kospi index faded in late trading on Friday. The market closed five percent down from a week ago, to finish at 663.
Strong industrial growth data failed to impress South Korean investors. Analysts say the focus remained on Wall Street's losses. Samsung Electronics fell by 1.4 percent on Friday, after it reported lower than expected earnings.