BANGKOK (AP) - An unexpected contraction in the U.S. economy at the end of 2012 has sent Asian stock markets into retreat.
One analyst in Australia says "the market has been looking for any excuse to pull back after such an epic month."
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.6 percent to 11,047.59 after the government reported lower-than-expected growth in December's industrial production.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent, while South Korea's Kospi shed 0.4 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent, following 10 straight sessions of gains. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia fell. Mainland China was mixed. The Philippines rose.
Oil prices are hovering below $98 a barrel, consolidating recent gains as traders waited for more economic indicators from the U.S. Benchmark oil for March delivery was down 4 cents to $97.90 at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
First Coast News