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Japan’s Nikkei passes 20,000 level

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index has edged past the 20,000 barrier in early trading for the first time since April 2000.

The BBC reports the index hit 20,004.99 before falling to 19,907.63 at the close.

Markets were buoyed by US energy stocks and a strong performance by Fast Retailing, Asia’s largest clothing retailer. Earlier this week the company announced it was increasing its income forecast for the year to August by 20 per cent.

The index is up by nearly 15 per cent this year.

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