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Japan leads Asia's New Year stock rally, hits a 26-year high

Nikkei jumps 3.26%; Shanghai, Singapore, India also log gains

The Nikkei Stock Average rose above 23,500 for the first time in 26 years.

TOKYO -- Stock markets across Asia have started 2018 on a strong note, with Japan's benchmark Nikkei Stock Average advancing 3.26% Thursday on the back of rosy economic indicators coming from the U.S. and China.

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