Asian markets were mixed on Friday as a weak set of Japanese economic figures sent Tokyo diving while dealers looked ahead to a speech by US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke later in the day. Tokyo slipped 1.60 per cent, or 143.87 points, to 8,839.91, Seoul edged down 0.07 per cent, or 1.26 points, to 1,905.12 and Sydney nudged up 0.4 points to 4,316.1. There was fresh evidence that global headwinds were dragging on the Japanese recovery, with data showing factory output unexpectedly fell 1.2 per cent in July, while the strong yen also hurt exporters. “It was originally assumed that the weakness in April-May would be temporary and followed by a rebound in summer. But such a scenario clearly fell through,” said Tatsushi Shikano, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. Adding to the woes in the key European market and uncertainty in the United States are growing fears about a slowdown in Asia, with shipments to China, South Korea and Singapore among those seeing big falls. Other figures Friday showed Japanese consumer prices were down 0.3 per cent on-year in July, the third consecutive monthly fall, while unemployment was flat at 4.3 per cent. Earlier this month data revealed a much worse-than-expected trade deficit in July of 517.4 billion yen ($6.5 billion). Attention is mostly focused on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Bernanke will address central bankers later in the day, with investors hoping he will announce plans for a new round of stimulus to kick-start the world’s biggest economy. But a slew of data in recent days suggesting a slow if steady US recovery -- including rebounding consumer spending -- has been interpreted as a sign he will hold off on further stimulus. The Dow fell 0.81 per cent, the S&P 500 slid 0.78 per cent and the Nasdaq 1.05 per cent. Also weighing on sentiment was a sharp drop in euro zone business and consumer confidence and a fifth straight monthly rise in German unemployment. Also in Europe, France and Spain called for decisive action to curb crippling borrowing rates that are threatening Madrid and pushing it towards seeking a full bailout. French President Francois Hollande, who is in Spain to meet Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, prodded European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi to act, as the central bank works on plans to restart a bond-buying scheme aimed at helping under-pressure economies. The ECB is expected to give more details on the mechanism for any intervention by September 6. In Seoul electronics giant Samsung rose 1.48 per cent after a Japanese court ruled that it had not stolen technologies from Apple, dealing a blow to the iPhone maker a week after it won a US$1 billion case in the United States. On currency markets the euro bought US$1.2507 and 98.07 yen in afternoon Asian trade, compared with $1.2504 and 98.26 yen in New York late Thursday. The dollar was trading at 78.41 yen against 78.59 yen. Oil was higher, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October gaining three cents to US$94.65 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for October adding 17 cents to US$112.82. Gold was at US$1,657.10 by 0725 GMT compared with US$1,655.30 on Thursday. In other markets: -- Taipei rose 0.35 per cent, or 25.62 points, to 7,397.06. Smartphone maker HTC rose 1.78 per cent to Tw$258.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company was 0.73 per cent higher at Tw$83.3. -- Wellington rose 1.02 per cent, or 37.12 points, to 3,666.68. Air New Zealand gained 7.39 per cent to NZ$1.09 and Telecom gained 2.07 per cent to NZ$2.46. -- Kuala Lumpur was closed for a public holiday.