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Nikkei up for 8th straight day, hits 3-month high amid US trade talks

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Nikkei stock index rose Thursday for an eighth straight day, briefly hitting a three-month high amid optimism over U.S.-Canada trade talks.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 21.28 points, or 0.09 percent, from Wednesday at 22,869.50. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 0.46 point, or 0.03 percent, lower at 1,739.14.

Gainers were led by mining, fishery, agriculture and forestry issues, while precision instrument, transportation equipment, and electric power and gas issues led the decliners.

The Nikkei at one point rose to as high as 23,032.17, tracking gains in the Nasdaq Composite Index and S&P 500 Index that hit fresh record highs for a fourth consecutive trading day amid expectations that the United States and Canada will be able to strike a deal, brokers said.

"(U.S. President Donald) Trump's comment fanned expectations that the two countries will be able to reach an agreement," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

On Wednesday, Trump said "They (Canada) want to be part of the deal, and we gave until Friday and I think we're probably on track," referring to the ongoing discussions between the two countries, according to local media.

But shares later pared their gains, with the Nikkei briefly falling into negative territory amid concern over its recent fast-paced rise, brokers said.

"Most investors sold stocks as the Nikkei hit the 23,000 level" to lock in gains, Miura said, adding, "Weak Chinese and Hong Kong shares" also weighed on the market.

On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,167 to 844 with 93 ending the day unchanged.

High-tech issues rose following the upbeat tone of the Nasdaq overnight. Chip equipment maker Advantest climbed 31 yen, or 1.2 percent, to 2,651 yen, while industrial instrument manufacturer Yokogawa Electric rose 36 yen, or 1.6 percent, to 2,300 yen.

Automakers were lower as investors locked in profits from earlier gains. Toyota Motor dipped 67 yen, or 0.9 percent, to 7,003 yen, while Honda Motor was down 39 yen, or 1.1 percent, at 3,356 yen.

Trading volume on the main section rose to 1,399.35 million shares from Wednesday's 1,126.79 million shares.

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