TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average climbed 4.4 percent on Thursday to its highest close in three months as carmakers powered higher on hopes for the U.S. economy after a string of data came in better than expected. Banks such as Mizuho Financial Group 8411.T gained on short-covering after recent sharp falls, while signs that foreign investors were snapping up blue chip exporters such as Sony Corp 6758.T also lifted the market.
The benchmark Nikkei .N225 gained 367.87 points to 8,719.78, its highest close since Jan. 9. The broader Topix .TOPX climbed 4.1 percent to 826.69 points. (Reporting by Elaine Lies)
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