Tokyo stocks fell for the third straight day Thursday, with the Nikkei Stock Average slipping 52.38 points, or 0.53%, to end the day at 9,767.61, its lowest point since March 7, when the index closed at 9,576. At one point the benchmark index dipped below 9,700. Fears about the European sovereign debt crisis emerged again. The uncertain economic outlook in China and the rest of the world also prompted investors to sell stocks, according to (Nikkei) website. In early morning trade, gloom from lower overseas markets carried over into Tokyo. Financial issues fell sharply in response to weak demand for Spanish government bonds in an auction overnight. In the afternoon, however, the Nikkei average trimmed its losses amid improved investor sentiment, after Shanghai stocks rose following a three-day holiday break. \"Investors probably began buying stocks on dips after selling ran its course, as the Nikkei Stock Average fell below the psychologically important line of 10,000,\" said an official at Daiwa Securities Co. The broader Topix index also continued lower for the third straight day, falling 2.79 points to finish at 832.57.