Asian Equities Extend Gains

Asian stocks rose on Thursday, extending the previous session’s gains, while the dollar drew support from minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showing the U.S. central bank was still on course to hike interest rates this year.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.5 percent, touching its highest level since September 2014.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI was up 1.9 percent after hitting a fresh seven-year high, fueled by fresh money inflows from mainland China investors who are seeking cheaper valuations after a sizzling Shanghai rally has left some stocks there overstretched.  Japan’s Nikkei .N225 rose 0.7 percent, pushing to a fresh 15-year high and closing in on the 20,000 level, above which it hasn’t traded since April 2000.

“The mood is helped by the fact that foreign investors are coming back to the Japanese market after they turned sellers early this year,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.  Japan finance ministry data showed foreign investors bought a net 1.036 trillion yen of Japanese shares last week, their biggest net buying since early April 2013.