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Nikkei briefly surpasses 23,000

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Stocks ended with losses on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday, hit by a wave of selling after the benchmark Nikkei average retook 23,000 for the first time in about 26 years.

The 225-issue Nikkei lost 45.11 points, or 0.2 percent, to finish at 22,868.71, after falling 23.78 points on Wednesday.

The TOPIX index of all First Section issues dropped 4.49 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 1,813.11. The index rose 4.31 points the previous day.

After getting off to a firmer start with buying of issues that were battered on Wednesday, the market gathered steam further, allowing the Nikkei average to break the 23,000 line for the first time since Jan. 10, 1992, on an intraday basis and go up nearly 470 points by the morning close.

The upsurge reflected hefty purchases by foreign investors who took heart from brisk earnings announced recently by a number of Japanese firms, brokers said.

In midafternoon trading, however, stocks lost their upward momentum on selling to lock in profits and quickly sank deep into negative territory toward the day’s closing.

In the sell-off phase, the Nikkei average briefly gave up over 390 points. But the key price gauge recovered much of the losses thanks to buying on dips, brokers said.

Stocks soared “like a kite without a thread” during the morning session, said Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Behind foreign players’ active buying was “a sense of urgency” of holding highly performing Japanese stocks, Ota also said.

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