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The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark Nikkei average ended above 17,000 for the first time in almost 14 months Thursday as share prices shot up on expectations the government has additional economic stimulus measures in the works.

The 225-issue Nikkei average surged 599.08 points, or 3.59 percent, from Friday’s close to finish at the day’s high of 17,300.61. The index last ended above 17,000 on March 13 last year, when it closed at 17,060.14. And Thursday’s close was the highest since Oct. 24, 1997, when the index closed at 17,363.74. Financial markets in Tokyo were closed Monday through Wednesday for national holidays.

Tokyo has been trying hard to instill confidence in markets over its prospects for bringing about economic recovery.

During his summit meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton on Monday in Washington, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi vowed unwavering resolve to bring the economy back to life.

The secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Yoshiro Mori, said from Luxembourg that he thinks an extra Diet session may be required from September to whip up a supplementary budget so Japan’s anemic economy can recover.

Trading volume on the main section of the exchange expanded to 788.42 million shares from 535.83 million shares Friday as investors returned to the market after a string of holidays, traders said.

Gainers overwhelmed losers 1,069 to 189, leaving only 66 issues for the day unchanged.

Despite fears that New York stock prices might collapse over the Golden Week holidays following their recent sharp gains, Wall Street showed its resilience as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 11,000 for the first time ever Monday, bolstering Tokyo stock prices Thursday, traders said.

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