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Bullish foreign investors drive Nikkei index to 21-year high

Soaring profits, consumer price growth seen fueling resurgence

The Nikkei Stock Average has reached its highest level since December 1996.

TOKYO -- Japan's Nikkei Stock Average has reached its highest in more than two decades as robust corporate earnings, broad economic improvements and the prospect of political stability have inspired optimism among foreign investors.

The Nikkei index gained 0.3% Wednesday to close at 20,881.27, recovering from a weak morning session as traders flocked to blue chips such as financial institutions and trading houses. By topping the 20,868 figure reached in June 2015, the index marked its highest close since December 1996.

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