Asian stocks down on dreary US jobs data

September 4, 2011 - 8:50 PM

BANGKOK (AP) — 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.

Japan's Nikkei was 1.8 percent down in early trading at 8,793.30. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 2.1 percent to 4,154.10. New Zealand's NZX 50 was 0.8 percent lower at 3,278.37.

Companies that count on brisk economic growth to fuel their revenues were hit hard. Japan's Hitachi Construction Machinery lost 4 percent. Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. tumbled 4.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed 2.2 percent lower Friday, wiping out its gain for the week, on the heels of a dismal jobs report.

The Labor Department reported that no jobs were added in the U.S. in August. It was the worst employment report in 11 months and renewed fears that another recession could be on the way.

The lack of hiring in the U.S. last month surprised investors. Economists were expecting 93,000 jobs to be added. Previously reported hiring figures for June and July were revised lower. The average work week declined and hourly earnings fell. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent. The rate has been above 9 percent in all but two months since May 2009.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 253.31 points to close at 11,240.26. It was the biggest fall in two weeks. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.5 percent to 1,173.97. The Nasdaq composite fell 2.6 percent to 2,480.33.