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TOKYO, Feb 19 AFP

February 19 2013, 6:18PM

Tokyo stocks ended mixed as investors locked in profits following a surge in the previous session while the market was guided lower by a strengthening yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.31 per cent on Tuesday, or 35.53 points, to 11,372.34, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was up 0.10 per cent, or 0.92 points, at 963.61.

The Nikkei's slide came after the index jumped 2.09 per cent on Monday on a weaker yen after Japan avoided accusations of unfairly weakening its currency by the Group of 20 leading economies at the weekend.

Critics, particularly in Europe, have accused Tokyo of engineering a devaluation of the yen, sparking fears of a global currency war in which rival nations drive down their currencies to gain a trade advantage.

Japanese officials have repeatedly denied the claims.

"The US market was closed (for a holiday Monday), and European markets were mixed," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding that investors had few trading cues.

Investors were looking ahead to elections in Italy later this month and the nomination of the next Bank of Japan governor, which could prove to be a major catalyst for yen trading.

On Tuesday, the yen was pushed higher after Finance Minister Taro Aso said Japan was not thinking about foreign bond purchases or changing a law governing the Bank of Japan.

In forex trade, the dollar slipped to 93.69 yen from 93.95 yen in London on Monday afternoon.