Stocks fell back on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, hurt by a wave of profit-taking.

The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 159.66 points, or 0.66 percent, to end at 24,110.96. On Tuesday, it rose 24.86 points to hit the highest closing level since Nov. 13, 1991.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed down 21.30 points, or 1.17 percent, at 1,802.73, after climbing 6.07 points the previous day.

Both indexes snapped their three-session winning streaks.

The Nikkei average recouped most of its earlier losses toward the morning close thanks to buying on dips, brokers said.

But the market came under renewed selling pressure in afternoon trading, with the key market yardsticks sinking deeper into negative territory.

“It’s not surprising if (the Nikkei) loses 200 to 300 points” following the recent surge, an official of a bank-linked securities firm said.

Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Saxo Bank Securities, said that Wednesday’s retreat was “inevitable.”

The market accelerated its downswing in the afternoon as “automobile-related issues met with selling by short-term investors,” Kuramochi said.

Stocks underwent “a speed adjustment,” Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co., said, predicting that the Nikkei is likely to fall below 24,000 this week due to profit-taking.

Falling issues far outnumbered rising ones 1,714 to 331 in the TSE’s first section, while 65 issues were unchanged.

Volume edged down to 1.463 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.473 billion shares.

Sony Corp. dropped 3.15 percent, hit by selling to cash in gains after the recent advance, brokers said.

Automakers Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. lost ground, reflecting their dismal new vehicle sales in September in the United States, announced Tuesday.

Other major losers included industrial robot-producer Fanuc Corp. and mobile phone-carrier KDDI Corp.

By contrast, Daito Trust Construction Co. ended 4.55 percent higher after announcing Tuesday that its order receipts in September totaled ¥78.686 billion, up 13.1 percent from a year before.

Also on the plus side were clothing retailer Fast Retailing Co. and advertising agency Dentsu Inc.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average fell 140 points to 24,140.

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