Asian shares mostly rebound from huge sell-off

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian markets were mostly higher, with a rally on Wall Street giving Tokyo and Hong Kong some impetus to claw back some of the losses they suffered in the previous session.

Tokyo's Nikkei, which slumped more than 4 per cent on Tuesday, rose 0.38 per cent by the break - boosted by a surge in computer giant Panasonic after it said it had swung back into profit. Hong Kong added 0.80 per cent and Seoul climbed 0.57 per cent but Sydney eased 0.15 per cent. Shanghai was closed for a public holiday.

Markets around the world have been sent into a tailspin in recent days following worse than expected manufacturing activity data form China and the United States suggesting softness in the global economy.

But Wall Street's three main indexes, which each saw losses of more than 2 per cent at the start of the week, rebounded slightly on Tuesday on bargain buying and solid corporate results, including from fast food giant Yum Foods and fashion retailer Michael Kors.

The Dow rose 0.47 per cent, the S&P 500 added 0.76 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 0.86 per cent.

Eyes are now on the release on Friday of crucial US non-farm payrolls data, which will give investors a better handle on the state of the world's number two economy. Last month's results showing the number of jobs created in December was less than half that expected jolted markets as it suggested the economy was not as strong as expected just as the Fed began tapering its bond-buying stimulus.