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Asia Markets: Nikkei shoots above 20,000 mark as Asian markets soar

Japan’s benchmark index zoomed above 20,000 points on Friday, the first time in 18 months, leading broad equity gains across the region following another record close on Wall Street overnight.

The Nikkei Stock Average NIK, +1.79% was the region’s best performer for the second straight session, gaining 1.4% to 20138, lifted by a strengthening U.S. dollar against the yen, which benefits the nation’s exporters. The U.S. dollar was up 0.5% against the yen compared with Thursday’s close. Gains were widening early Friday.

“Earnings are good in Japan, Europe and America. You’ve got very predictable central bank policy: they don’t want to shock,” said Chris Weston, an analyst at IG Markets in Australia.

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