Asian stocks down on disappointing US jobs data

Asian stocks down on disappointing US jobs data

Tokyo: Asian stock markets fell in early trading Friday as disappointing US jobs data sparked fresh concerns over a recovery in the world’s biggest economy.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average tumbled 170.73 points, or 1.6%, to 10,449.82.

Among Japanese blue chips, Sony Corp. plunged 6.7% to ¥2,954 after its operating profit forecast fell short of economists’ expectations.

Investors also dumped banking shares in Tokyo after the New York attorney general launched a probe into eight banks to determine whether they misled rating agencies about mortgage securities.

South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.5% to 1,686.37. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.9% at 4,638.30.

China’s benchmark index in Shanghai slipped 0.6% to 2,694.63. Shares in Taiwan and Singapore also fell in early trading.

Sentiment in Asia turned downbeat after a US Labor Department report Thursday showed US claims for jobless benefits were not falling fast enough to signal steady job growth. High unemployment remains a primary obstacle to a US economic recovery.

The US government said first-time claims for jobless benefits dipped to 444,000 last week from an upwardly revised 448,000 the previous week the consensus in the markets was for a drop to 440,000.

The disappointing job report triggered selling on Wall Street on Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 113.96 points, or 1.1%, to 10,782.95.

In currencies, the dollar edged up to 92.80 yen in Tokyo from 92.75 yen in New York late Thursday. The euro stood at $1.2543 from $ 1.2519.