TOKYO , Dec. 27 -- ( Kyodo ) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO) A late bout of buybacks caused the Nikkei stock index to wipe out its earlier losses and finish slightly higher on Friday, extending its winning streak to an eighth trading day on the back of a weaker yen and buoyant U.S. stocks. In its longest rally since March, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 4.5 points, or 0.03 percent, from Thursday to close at 16,178.94, its highest finish since Nov. 6, 2007 . The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 10.73 points, or 0.84 percent, higher at 1,290.07. The Tokyo market opened higher, with buying supported after the 30-issue Dow Jones Industrial Average set a record closing high, for the 50th time this year. But the Nikkei soon turned lower and traded in the negative territory for much of the day's trading as investors moved to lock in recent sharp gains after the index surged nearly 7 percent during its seven-day rally through Thursday. While losses in heavily weighed Nikkei components, such as Fast Retailing , largely dragged down the Nikkei, the broader Topix index was higher for much of the day. The Nikkei also crawled back higher shortly before the end of the day's trading. "It was quite natural to see the Nikkei taking a breather following its large gains," said Hiroaki Hiwada, strategist at Toyo Securities Co. "But sentiment is strong on the whole," he said, noting that the number of advancing issues was quite large. Sentiment toward exporting shares was also buoyed as the U.S. dollar rose to the 105 yen range and the euro gained to the 144 yen level, both for the first time in five years and two months, brokers said. The market was also supported by hope over the start in January of a small-lot tax-free securities investment scheme known as NISA , among other factors, said Hiroichi Nishi , assistant general manager of equity research at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. "Investors' interest in dip-buying is strong," he said. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,515 to 201 on the First Section, while 60 closed unchanged. Fast Retailing , the operator of Uniqlo casual fashion chain, dropped 750 yen , or 1.7 percent to 43,300 yen . Fanuc lost 260 yen , or 1.3 percent, to 19,120 yen , marking its first drop in 10 market days. Takeda Pharmaceutical also took a beating after announcing the termination of development of a diabetes drug due to safety concerns. It plunged 265 yen , or 5.2 percent, to 4,835 yen . Meanwhile, J. Front Retailing gained 13 yen , or 1.7 percent, to 789 yen after announcing a record-high group net profit for the March-November period since its establishment in 2007 through the merger of Daimaru Inc. and Matsuzakaya Holdings Co. By sector, marine transport, warehousing, and steel shares were among major gainers, while oil and coal and pharmaceutical issues faced selling. Trading volume on the main section came to 2,649.90 million shares, compared with Thursday's 2,657.12 million shares.
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