CONSUMER PULLBACK: Japan's economy grew at a slower-than-expected annualized rate of 1.4 percent in April-June, as consumer spending flagged following a rebound from last year's earthquake and tsunami disasters.

EXPORTS PINCHED: Feeble demand hit Japan's export sector, which has been undercut by protracted crisis in Europe.

SOME OPTIMISM: The pace of growth dropped sharply from a revised 5.5 percent in the previous quarter. But the country's economics minister, Motohisa Furukawa, struck an upbeat tone, saying in a statement that the economy "continues in an uptrend, led by domestic demand."