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A wave of profit-taking sent Tokyo share prices reeling Thursday.

The 225-issue Nikkei average gave up 249.97 points, or 1.9 percent, to finish the day at 12,853.97 after soaring 912.97 points Wednesday.

After opening lower amid fears of contagion as the slide on Wall Street continued overnight, the key market gauge rebounded later in the morning only to fizzle out soon after.

The Nikkei slid below 13,000, a level it regained Wednesday for the first time in three weeks, as investors chose to cash in.

Brokers pointed out, however, that it was only natural for stocks to fall the day after the Nikkei posted its seventh-largest, single-day percentage gain to close above 13,000 for the first time in three weeks.

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