NEW YORK, AUG. 24 -- The dollar closed slightly lower today against the Japanese yen but managed fractional gains against other major currencies as concern over central bank intervention increased among market participants.

Gold closed higher.

In New York, the dollar slipped to 141.90 yen, down from Friday's close of 142.25. Overnight in Tokyo, the dollar dropped to 142.65, down 0.35 yen from the previous close of 143.

Dealers in Tokyo estimated that the Bank of Japan intervened to the tune of between $200 million and $300 million to stem the dollar's decline.

In addition, a senior official of the Japanese finance ministry, quoted by the Kyodo news service, said Japanese monetary officials have been talking with U.S. officials for a week on the possibility of coordinated intervention if the dollar's slide continued.

There is a feeling in the market that the dollar will stabilize at these levels, said Earl Johnson of Harris Bank in Chicago. "I'm not sure the market is ready to test 140 {against the yen}."

Johnson estimated that the Bank of Japan intervention was between $400 million and $500 million.

As for the reported talks between Japanese and U.S. monetary officials, Johnson said there may be an effort to "stabilize the dollar through rhetoric."

Against the West German mark, the dollar ended at 1.8185, up from 1.8145. Earlier in Frankfurt, the dollar fell to 1.8238 from 1.8283 on Friday.

Johnson said the $15.7 billion U.S. merchandise trade deficit in June and the 2.3 percent growth rate in the second quarter "certainly don't argue for a stronger dollar. But we might hold at these levels until we see the next trade figure."

And if the July trade report -- to be released in September -- shows a deficit in the vicinity of $16 billion, Johnson said the dollar "would come under serious selling pressure."

But for the near-term, the dollar should remain in a 1.80-1.85 range against the mark and 140-145 range against the yen, he said.

"The markets and the {central} banks seem to be comfortable at these levels," Johnson said.

In London, the pound climbed to $1.6310, up from $1.6295. Later in New York, however, the pound fell slightly to $1.6310, down from $1.6320 on Friday.

The dollar rose to $1.3290 Canadian from $1.3240.

Other European closing rates with late New York prices and comparable Friday rates in parentheses:

Zurich, 1.4965 Swiss francs, down from 1.5052 (1.4995 vs. 1.5020); Paris, 6.0945 French francs, down from 6.1080 (6.0788 vs. 6.0700); Milan, 1,320.40 lire, down from 1,323.65 (1,316.50 vs. 1,314); Amsterdam, 2.0465 guilders, down from 2.05 (2.0510 vs. 2.0455).

Republic National Bank in New York closed cash gold at $460.25 an ounce, up from its Friday close of $456.75. New York's Commodity Exchange settled the spot contract at $460.70, up from $456.90.

In Zurich, gold rose to $460.50 an ounce, up from $455.50. In London, it ended at $459.75, up from $456.

Silver rose to $7.79 an ounce from $7.67 on the cash market; the Comex settled it at $7.786, up from $7.664. Earlier in London, silver rose to $7.81 from $7.65.