TOKYO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average ended lower on Thursday, pulling back from a new 26-year high as investors turned cautious, while real estate stocks and financial firms underperformed.
The Nikkei dropped 0.4 percent to 23,763.37, after hitting 24,084.42 in early trade, the highest since November 1991.
Mitsubishi Estate declined 1.6 percent and Sumitomo Realty & Development dropped 1.0 percent.
Insurers and banking stocks lost ground, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings and T&D Holdings both declining 1.3 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group shed 0.9 percent and Mizuho Financial Group fell 1.8 percent.
On the other hand, chip making equipment manufacturers jumped, with Advantest surging 3.1 percent and Tokyo Electron soaring 2.8 percent after the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index rose.
The broader Topix shed 0.7 percent to 1,876.86. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)