Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest weekly advance since December 2011, as U.S. shares rallied after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting indicated the central bank won’t rush to raise interest rates. Energy companies led gains as oil headed for its steepest weekly increase since August.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.7 percent to 132.13 as of 9:00 a.m. in Tokyo, poised for a 4.6 percent rally this week. While Fed officials noted the U.S. economy continued to improve, the committee decided to wait for additional data confirming the outlook for growth, the minutes showed. Officials cited growing risks, mainly from China, while saying they were on track to increase rates this year. Odds of a Fed liftoff in 2015 have fallen below 50 percent, futures data show, after a weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report last week.

Japan’s Topix index added 1.1 percent. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.7 percent, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1.1 percent. Markets in South Korea and Taiwan are closed for holidays Friday, while those in China and Hong Kong have yet to start trading.

The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 3 percent on Thursday as trading resumed after a week-long holiday and investors speculated the government will take more steps to boost the world’s second-biggest economy. FTSE China A50 Index futures rose 0.8 percent in most recent trading, while contracts on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index in Hong Kong added 0.4 percent.

Source : Bloomberg