The second tranche of Japanese data out Friday showed some mild improvement in the retail sector and a lackluster performance for industrials. Industrial output for July rose 0.2%, swinging to a gain from June’s 3.4% drop but still trailing expectations for a 1.2% gain, as forecast by a Wall Street Journal survey of economists. The result was underwhelming enough for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to declare that industrial production has weakened, though a survey of manufacturers included with each month’s report showed expectations for output to rise 1.3% this month and jump by 3.5% in September. On the other hand, the survey has limited predictive power, having called for July’s output to increase by 2.5%. Retail sales, meanwhile, swung to a gain of 0.5% from a year earlier, after having fallen 0.6% in June. Large-scale retailers saw their sales slip 0.6% after a 1.8% drop the previous month. The Japanese yen weakened slightly after the numbers, with the dollar USDJPY, +0.22% rising to ¥103.72 from ¥103.68 pre-data. The Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -0.23% lost 0.2% in early trade, roughly in line with what Singapore-traded futures had indicated.