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Nikkei ends over 15,000 for first time since 2007

Kyodo

The Nikkei 225 stock average gained more than 2 percent Wednesday to end above the 15,000 mark for the first time since December 2007, propelled by a falling yen and buoyant global equities.

The key Nikkei index closed up 337.61 points, or 2.29 percent, from Tuesday at 15,096.03, the highest closing level since Dec. 28, 2007, when it ended at 15,307.78.

The broader Topix, which includes all first-section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was up 22.05 points, or 1.79 percent, at 1,252.85, the highest level since Aug. 29, 2008, when it finished at 1,254.71.

Export-oriented firms including Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. enjoyed hefty gains as the dollar climbed above the ¥102 line, up from the lower ¥101 range seen the previous day in Tokyo, boosting hopes of upbeat business performances for such companies, brokers said.

The market has been attracting “tremendous” demand from foreign investors, said Hiroichi Nishi, assistant general manager of equity research at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “There are signs of a brighter outlook for the global economy, while the dollar and euro are gaining ground against the yen due to overseas factors.”

He said sentiment had been lifted by firmer U.S. and German stocks among others after debt rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded Greece’s long-term credit rating and the U.S. small-business optimism index for April exceeded market expectations.

“The dollar may soon hit even higher levels, such as the ¥105 mark,” said Tsutomu Yamada, market analyst at kabu.com Securities Co.,.