Asia stocks mostly lower
Asian markets were mostly lower Monday following miserable jobs figures from the United States and continuing fears over the global corporate outlook.
Hong Kong lost almost three percent, while Sydney shed 1.4 percent, Seoul more than two percent and Singapore 1.65 percent as investors followed a fall on Wall Street Friday. Mumbai dived more than three percent.
In New York the Dow Jones slid 1.6 percent as a labour report showing the worst annual job losses since World War II raised alarms that the worst was yet to come in a deepening recession.
The US economy shed 524,000 jobs in December, in line with market expectations, driving the unemployment rate to a 16-year high of 7.2 percent.
The weak December figures capped a year of the worst job losses since 1945, the department said. The economy bled 2.6 million jobs in 2008, with the bulk of them, 1.9 million, in the last four months of the year.
There is also trepidation ahead of a number of key earnings reports expected from some of the world's biggest companies in the United States, including aluminium giant Alcoa and chipmaker Intel.
The falls came as US president-elect Barack Obama sought to give reassurances that he will work to improve a 700-billion-dollar bailout for ailing banks.
Hong Kong and Shanghai were also hit by fears that banks will suffer further divestments by overseas firms following a series of pull-outs last week in some of the mainland's biggest, including China Construction Bank and Bank of China.
However, some markets bucked the trend, with Manila up by 0.7 percent, Wellington 0.39 percent and Kuala Lumpur 0.5 percent.
Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.