Japan Stocks Lead the Way in Asia

Asia shares were near to eking out a sixth session of gains on Wednesday as investors strove to stay optimistic on the chance of a Greek debt deal, while the dollar held firm as the prospect of U.S. rate rises swung back into view.  Japan’s Nikkei led the way as a rise of 0.5 percent cleared a peak from 2000 to reach ground last trod in late 1996.

MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.1 percent. A close around there would bring gains over the past six sessions to 2.9 percent.  In China, official efforts to calm jittery investors seem to have steadied sentiment after steep losses last week. Shanghai stocks were up 0.4 percent but trade remained volatile.

Gains on Wall Street had been minor, though still enough to see the Nasdaq to a record peak. The Dow ended Tuesday up 0.13 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.06 percent and the Nasdaq 0.12 percent.  Risk appetites were whetted after Greece’s leftwing government expressed confidence that parliament would approve a debt deal with lenders, despite an angry reaction from some of its own lawmakers.