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Tokyo stocks down 0.88% by break


Tokyo shares slipped 0.88 percent on Friday morning as the yen strengthened while investors awaited the start of a Group of 20 meeting in Russia where forex markets are expected to top the agenda.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 99.35 points to 11,207.93 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was down 1.50 percent, or 14.36 points, at 940.52.

"Caution is emerging over the yen's direction," said Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager of research at Chibagin Asset Management.

"The topside will likely be heavy," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

In morning currency trade, the dollar weakened to 92.75 yen from 92.87 yen in New York on Thursday.

The euro bought $1.3350 and 123.84 yen, slipping from $1.3385 and 124.10 yen in New York on disappointing eurozone economic data.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 leading economies meet in Moscow later Friday as criticism, mostly from Europe, grows over Japan's monetary easing which has helped pushed down the currency.

The hot-button claims, which Japanese officials have repeatedly denied, are expected to top the international meeting's agenda.

Weighing on sentiment was fourth-quarter GDP data on Thursday that showed the 17-nation eurozone's economy shrank a worse-than-expected 0.6 percent in the three months to December, "confirming the ongoing recession in the eurozone", National Australia Bank said in a note.

Wall Street ended flat with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipping 0.07 percent to 13,973.39.