BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets were tepid Friday amid doubts over the ability of European leaders to put together a clear strategy aimed at stanching an escalating financial crisis among the 17 countries that use the euro.
Leaders began a two-day summit in Brussels on Thursday, searching for ways to turn around the continent's economy. Investors had few hopes that the summit — as so many meetings before it — would lead to a solution powerful enough to restore confidence.
There was also dour news from the U.S. The Commerce Department said the American economy expanded at a 1.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter, a weak pace that isn't expected to pick up.
Growth of around 1.9 percent typically generates roughly 90,000 jobs a month. That's considered too weak to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month.
On the job front, applications for unemployment benefits stayed above a level last week that is generally considered too high to lower the jobless rate.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.1 percent to 8,864.83. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 percent to 19,139.76 and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 1,815.59. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.1 percent to 4,040.70.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.2 percent at 12,602.26. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.2 percent to 1,329.04. The Nasdaq composite average fell 0.9 percent to 2,849.49.
Benchmark oil for August delivery was up 84 cents to $78.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.52 to close at $77.69 in New York on Thursday.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2449 from $1.2429 late Thursday in New York. The dollar fell to 79.20 yen from 79.45 yen.