Japan's blue-chip Nikkei Average benchmark briefly hit levels not seen in almost 15 years on Thursday. With volumes low and Chinese markets closed for holiday, the Nikkei Average managed to climb to 18,323 at around 10 a.m. local time, surpassing its March 2007 intraday high of 18,300 to trade at levels last hit in mid-2000, according to FactSet. By the market's lunchtime break, the index had eased back to 18,283, still up 0.5% for the day and up 4.8% for the year to date. However, the Nikkei Average remained distant from its all-time record of 38,916, made on the last trading day of 1989, just before Japan's economy collapsed into the "Lost Decade."
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