- Asian shares followed Wall Street''s lead from overnight, gaining on Wednesday after the S&P 500 closed at its second straight record.

The gains in Asia however were modest with the Hang Seng index up 0.83%, the Shanghai Composite gaining 0.16% and the Nikkei 225 edging 0.04% in morning trade.

Ahead, China''s official manufacturing purchasing managers'' index due at the weekend will be crucial for regional bourses.

Australia''s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2% as Sydney hit a four-week high and South Korea''s KOSPI added 0.4%.

In corporate news, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:8801) sank 6.4% in Japan after the real-estate firm announced that it would raise up to ¥325 billion via a share offering--the company''s first in three decades.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose on upbeat economic indicators and on mergers and acquisitions news.

The Dow 30 rose 0.42%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.60%, while the NASDAQ Composite Composite index rose 1.22%.

The Conference Board reported earlier that its consumer confidence index rose to 83.0 this month from 81.7 in April, in line with market expectations.

Elsewhere, the Standard & Poor’s/ Case-Shiller house price index rose 12.4% in March from a year earlier, beating forecasts for a gain of 11.8% and following a rise of 12.9% in February.

Healthy wholesale pricing data firmed the greenback as well.

The Commerce Department reported earlier U.S. durable goods orders rose 0.8% in April, confounding expectations for a 0.5% fall, after a 3.6% increase in March, whose figure was revised up from a previously estimated 2.9% rise.

Mergers and acquisitions news moved stock prices as well.

Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) shares rose after the pharmaceutical giant abandoned its $116 billion bid to acquire Astrazeneca Plc.

Separately, poultry producer Pilgrims Pride Corp (NASDAQ:PPC) offered to buy Hillshire Brands Company (NYSE:HSH) in a $5.6 million deal.

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