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Asia stocks mixed as worries over Europe mount
Asian stock markets mixed as worries of European growth and debt mount
By The Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) ' Stock markets in Asia were mixed Wednesday, with investment sentiment on the wane amid Europe's ongoing debt crisis and weaker-than-expected growth in the 17-country euro zone.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index sank 1 percent to 9,015.54 in morning trading. South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.2 percent to 1,877.26, while mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent to 2,600.51. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Malaysia were also lower.

But Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7 percent to 20,361.77, and Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.8 percent to 4,282.50. Shares in New Zealand and Singapore also rose.

Stocks around the world lost their steam Tuesday after muted German growth figures reinforced fears over the global economy.

Wall Street closed lower after a volatile day. The Dow dropped 0.7 percent to 11,405.93 ' the first time in seven trading days that the Dow rose or fell by less than 100 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1 percent to 1,192.76. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.2 percent to 2,523.45.

U.S. economic reports Tuesday were mixed. Housing remains weak, but factory output rose last month at its fastest pace since an earthquake in Japan disrupted global manufacturing in March.

Europe's economy and debt troubles have been among global investors' main concerns over the last year and a half. Some European countries have borrowed so much that they may need help repaying debt.

On Tuesday, the European Union reported that economic growth in the 17 countries that use the euro slowed to 0.2 percent between April and June from 0.8 percent the previous quarter. Germany's growth fell to 0.1 percent from 1.3 percent.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Paris to discuss the crisis but failed to calm worries about Europe's debt problems.

The euro weakened to $1.4377 from $1.4397 late Tuesday in New York. The dollar slipped to 76.68 yen from 76.78 Japanese yen.

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