BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were subdued Friday after Japanese manufacturing undershot expectations and worries about Syria's civil war dampened investor spirits.
The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo shed morning gains after the government released figures that, while showing some strength, fell short. Manufacturing in the world's No. 3 economy rose 1.6 percent in July from a year earlier and 3.2 percent from the month before. While that pointed to an economic recovery, analysts had expected to see a 3.6 percent increase.
Still, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it foresaw further expansion in August and September.
"If these forecasts are realised, industrial production momentum will climb to new highs," analysts at Capital Economics said in a written commentary.
The Nikkei in Tokyo fell 0.3 percent to 13,412.60. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.1 percent to 21,676.78. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.5 percent to 1,917.74. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,115.
Among individual stocks, Virgin Australia Holdings, the country's second-largest airline, fell 3.2 percent after posting an annual loss of 98 million Australian dollars ($88 million).
Energy companies fell as oil prices continued to retreat from a two-year high. Japanese energy explorer Inpex shed 1.7 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks posted modest gains Thursday, as some positive news for the U.S. economy outweighed worries about Syria. The economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate from April through June, much faster than previously estimated. The government also reported the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits fell last week.
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