Asian markets advance as US equities maintain record highs

 
Guy Bentley
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Asian markets rose after US equities stayed at record highs, while the euro hovered near a five week low fuelling speculation among investors that the European Central Bank may pursue stimulus next month.

Weaker than expected retail sales in the US did little to damper investor confidence, with the Federal Reserve continuing its tapering programme and the economy set for even more rapid growth.

In April, US retail sales rose 0.1 per cent suggesting the rise in US will be gradual over the course of the year.

China Overseas Land & Investment enjoyed solid gains after the People's Bank of China instructed lenders to hasten home loans. Japanese publisher Kadokawa and online video distributor Dwanga saw their shares surge on reports of a merger.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index took a hit after the government unveiled its plans to raise taxes and cut spending to deal with the country's deficit.