Japan stocks rose, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average heading for the highest close in 15 years, as the biggest banks jumped and Trend Micro Inc. and Sony Corp. gained.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan™s largest lender, climbed 2.5 percent to be the biggest support to the Topix Index as banks led gains among industry groups. Anti-virus software maker Trend Micro added 5.9 percent, the strongest support to the Nikkei 225, after projecting profit above analyst estimates. Sony jumped 2.7 percent after forecasting a surge in operating earnings.

The Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent to 18,283.73 at the trading break in Tokyo, on course for the highest closing level since May 2000. The Topix added 0.6 percent to 1,491.51, after it closed yesterday at the strongest since December 2007. Two stocks rose for each that fell on the gauge.

The Topix Banks Index gained 2.1 percent, bringing this year™s advance to 10 percent. The industry group dropped 3.9 percent last year, when the broader Topix gained 8.1 percent.

Mitsubishi UFJ gained 2.5 percent to 761.7 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. added 2.4 percent to 4,674.5 yen, while Mizuho Financial Group Inc. climbed 2.7 percent to 216.3 yen. All three lenders, Japan™s so-called megabanks, were the biggest supports on the Topix.

Source : Bloomberg