Asian Shares Slip Despite Upbeat Japanese Economic Data

A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Friday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Shares were lower in Asia on Friday, tracking losses on Wall Street despite the release of data showing Japan’s economy resumed its longtime expansion in the last quarter.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 1.3 percent to 22,298.08 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 1.0 percent to 28,331.54. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.3 percent to 2,786.97 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 declined 0.2 percent to 6,282.00. In South Korea, the Kospi lost 0.9 percent to 2,282.50. India’s Sensex fell 0.3 percent to 37,944.19. Shares were lower in Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore but rose in Indonesia.

The Japanese economy expanded at a 1.9 percent annual pace in April-June, rebounding from a 0.6-percent contraction in the previous quarter, the government reported. Quarterly growth in the gross domestic product of the world’s third largest economy was 0.5 percent. The recovery was driven mainly by better-than-expected domestic demand, while trade exerted a slight drag on growth, analysts said.

“While GDP started expanding again in the second quarter, growth isn’t as vigorous as last year. With the economy running into capacity constraints, we think that activity will remain sluggish for now,” Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

Major U.S. indexes stood stock-still for the third consecutive day Thursday as gains for retailers were canceled out by losses for banks and other companies. The S&P 500 edged 0.1-percent lower to 2,853.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3 percent to 25,509.23, while the Nasdaq composite inched higher, adding 3.46 points to 7,891.78, notching its eighth gain in a row. The Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies, added 4.01 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,690.89.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 18 cents to $66.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dipped 0.2 percent to $66.81 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gave up 15 cents to $71.92 a barrel. It lost 0.3 percent to $72.07 per barrel in London.

The dollar fell to 110.94 yen from 111.09 yen after the report of strong second-quarter growth data. The euro fell to $1.1443 from $1.1526.

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