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Japanese Markets Finish Best Year in Four Decades

FILE - A man gestures in front of a securities firm's electronic stock board in Tokyo.
On the last trading day of 2013, Japanese shares closed at a 57 percent annual gain, their best annual performance since 1972.

Analysts attribute the record to foreign investors jumping into the Japanese market after the government and central bank initiated policies that sent the yen plummeting against the dollar, making Japanese exports very popular. The Japanese currency has lost about a fifth of its value against the dollar since the start of the year.

The benchmark Nikkei average rose for a ninth day (to end 0.7 percent higher, at 15,291.31) Monday, its longest winning streak since July of 2009.

The big gains follow an aggressive economic stimulus by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As a country, Japan has the world's third-largest economy, trailing only the United States and China.

The broader Topix was up one percent to 1,302.29 Monday, rising above 1,300 for the first time since August 2008.