Asian Equities Higher as Utilities and Consumers Lead

Asian stocks climbed, with the regional benchmark trimming its first monthly decline in 2015, as utilities and consumer shares led gains.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent to 151.53 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo, headed for a 1.1 percent drop in May. The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 6.5 percent on Thursday, the most since Jan. 19, after brokerages tightened margin lending rules amid speculation the government is taking steps to cool the rally. Record growth in margin debt helped fuel a 127 percent gain in the equity gauge over the past 12 months through yesterday.

Greece’s creditors said a deal to unlock rescue aid isn’t imminent as they demanded the debt-ravaged nation make stronger commitments to overhaul its economy and strengthen public finances. The Greek government saw its optimism over an agreement scoffed at as European officials gathered in Germany for a Group of Seven meeting and said much more effort is needed.