Asian Stocks Advance as Nikkei 225 Heads for Highest Since 1996

Asian shares rose for a fifth day as Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average headed for its highest close in more than 18 years.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 150.15 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 increased 0.4 percent, poised for the highest close since December 1996. The measure has climbed 20 percent this year. European and U.S. equities extended gains on Tuesday as investors weighed economic data for clues on the timing of higher interest rates amid optimism that a deal on Greek aid is within reach.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added less than 0.1 percent after the underlying measure advanced 0.1 percent on Tuesday. Purchases of new homes climbed in May to a 546,000 annualized pace, the strongest since February 2008, according to Commerce Department data. Another report from the agency showed orders placed with factories for business equipment rose last month for just the second time this year.

Source: Bloomberg

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