Asia stocks dragged down by selloff in Europe

September 5, 2011 - 9:00 PM
Japan World Markets

A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Asia-Pacific stocks took a beating early Monday after jobs data out of the U.S. last week revived fears of a recession in the world's largest economy. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian markets opened lower Tuesday after fears of a worsening global economy sparked a session of free-falling losses in Europe.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.2 percent to 8,682.17 in early trading. Australia's S&P ASX 200 lost 1 percent to 4,100.60. South Korea's Kospi index was 0.3 percent down at 1,780.38.

The slump in Asia comes a day after European shares booked sharp losses. Britain's FTSE 100 closed the day down 3.6 percent to 5,102.58. Germany's DAX tumbled a massive 5.3 percent to 5,246.18, and France's CAC-40 plummeted 4.7 percent to 2,999.54.

A wave of negative sentiment was unleashed Friday by a government report that said the U.S. economy failed to add any new jobs in August. That caused European and Asian stock markets to sink sharply Monday.

The August jobs figure was far below economists' already tepid expectations for 93,000 new U.S. jobs and renewed concerns that the U.S. recovery is not only slowing but actually unwinding.

U.S. hiring figures for June and July were also revised lower, adding to the gloom. The unemployment crisis has prompted President Barack Obama to schedule a major speech Thursday night to propose steps to stimulate hiring.

The health of the U.S. economy is crucial for the wider world because consumer spending there accounts for a fifth of global economic activity. The U.S. imports huge amounts from Japan and China and is closely linked at all levels with the European market.

Traders are hoping for signs that the Federal Reserve might take action at its September meeting to support the economy — perhaps a third round of bond purchases, dubbed quantitative easing III or QE3.

Wall Street, which was closed Monday due to the Labor Day holiday, was bracing for losses Tuesday.