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Nikkei rises to fresh 7-year high on strong capex data, weak yen, low crude prices

* Falling crude oil benefits Japan - analyst * Strong capex data lifts machinery shares * Weak gold prices hurts Sumitomo Metal Mining * Exporters benefit after dollar hits new 7-year high on yen By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a fresh seven-year high on Monday as strong corporate spending lifted sentiment, with airline shares extending gains as oil prices tumbled further.

Exporters were also in demand after the dollar rose to a new seven-year high against the yen.

The Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to 17,615.14 points by mid-morning after climbing as high as 17,649.02, the highest since July 2007.

The 5.5 percent year-on-year rise in capital expenditure over the third quarter reported on Monday is expected to ease concerns about a recovery from a sales tax increase earlier this year.

Such machinery shares benefited from the strong capital spending figures, with Fanuc Corp rising 1.9 percent and Keyence Corp jumping 2.3 percent.

Falling crude oil prices continued to help ANA Holdings Inc , which soared 5.3 percent to 307.6 yen, the highest since Feb. 2011. Japan Airlines Co climbed 7.2 percent to 3,740 yen, the highest since the airline spilt its stock on Oct. 1.

Tire makers Bridgestone Corp rose 1.1 percent and Yokohama Rubber Co surged 2.1 percent.

"Falling crude prices is serving as a tailwind to a developed country like Japan," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, adding that the drop in prices would help consumption as well.

"It's a Thanksgiving gift to the Japanese market," he said.

U.S. crude fell more than $2 to a five-year low in Asian trade, while Brent futures touched a fresh four-year low.

Also lifting risk sentiment was the weak yen after the dollar hit 119.02 on the EBS trading platform, the highest since August 2007. Toyota Motor Corp rose 1.6 percent and Honda Motor Co advanced 1.1 percent.

Bucking the strength was Sumitomo Metal Mining Co, which fell 1.8 percent as gold prices slid 2 percent after Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to boost central bank gold reserves.

The broader Topix rose 1.1 percent to 1,425.39, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.0 percent to 12,966.49.

(Editing by Kim Coghill)