TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese stocks were moderately lower at the end of morning trading Thursday following a three-day advance, while the dollar rose slightly against the yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average fell 52.70 points, or 0.32 percent, ending the morning session at 16,561.44.

The index's slide followed gains totaling 524.08 points, or 3.3 percent, over the past three trading days, including Wednesday's advance of 125.23 points.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was down 2.34 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,272.97 points. The TOPIX closed up 8.66 points, or 0.68 percent, the day before.

Sentiment on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was weighed down by jitters over the selection of a successor to outgoing Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who announced his resignation Monday to take responsibility for the defeat of his ruling party in national elections.

The dollar bought 140.71 yen at midday, up 0.08 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo and also above its late New York rate of 140.50 yen.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.410 percent from Wednesday's finish of 1.405 percent, driving its price down to 110.34 from 110.38.