Asian markets recover after early dip

Markets in Asia largely recovered in late trade, with trading volatile in the wake of the European Central Bank`s latest stimulus measures.

On Thursday, markets had initially cheered the ECB`s move to cut rates and expand its quantitative easing plan.

But hints later that the bank might not cut rates further saw European and US markets go into reverse.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 1% at first, but then recovered to end the day up 0.5% at 16,938.87.

In China, investors were looking ahead to some fresh economic data expected out of Beijing on Saturday.

Analysts said retail sales may show some improvement over the combined January and February period, but that they were expecting industrial production and fixed-asset investment numbers to support the outlook for a continued overall economic slowdown in China.

Saturday`s numbers will combine January and February activity on the mainland in order to avoid any irregularities that could appear due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

Hong Kong`s Hang Seng index closed up 1.1% at 20,199.60, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2% to 2,810.31.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 fell at first, but then recovered to close up 0.3% at 5,166.39.

South Korea`s Kospi index ended the day 0.1% higher at 1,971.41.