World markets dropped on Monday, extending heavy losses last week, as another setback for the U.S. economic recovery intensified fears that a global recession was in the making. The Tokyo market hit a 28-year low as investors continue to worry about global issues.
The financial crisis in Europe continued unabated, with uncertainty hanging over Spain's banking sector and Cyprus looking increasingly likely to need a European Union bailout.
Investors were spooked by a U.S. report showing a sharp slowdown in the number of jobs created last month, adding to weak data from other major economies like Europe and Asia.
Unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro currency stayed at a record-high 11 percent in April. And there were signs that growth in China, which helped sustain the global economy through the 2008-2009 recession, is slowing significantly. China's manufacturing weakened in May, according to surveys released Friday.
"US jobs numbers were not the only weak reading as manufacturing output data in China and the US were also lower, and euro area unemployment reached a record level," Stan Shamu of IG Markets in Melbourne, said in an email.
"There aren't many positives for risk assets at the moment," he said.
Adding to the evidence of a slowdown, new figures showed companies placed fewer orders to U.S. factories for the second straight month. The Commerce Department said Monday that orders for factory goods fell 0.6 percent in April from March.
In Europe, Germany's DAX lost 1.2 percent to 5,978.23 though France's CAC-40 managed to rise 0.1 percent to 2,954.49. Markets in Britain were closed for a public holiday.
Wall Street was opened lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average shedding 0.3 percent to 12,079 while the S&P 500 falling 0.5 percent to 1,271.50.40.
In Spain, investors are waiting for what the government intends to do to boost the finances of some of its ailing banks. The worry is that the government is already strapped for cash and might be overwhelmed by the costs of rescuing its own banks. It might have to tap EU rescue funds, but it is reluctant to do so because such aid would come with conditions on the government's policies.
As worries about Spain's public finances have grown, investors have shied away from lending it money, asking for higher interest rates. Those rates remained high on Monday, at 6.38 percent for 10-year notes, perilously close to the 7 percent that has already pushed Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek financial aid.
Meanwhile in Cyprus, the central bank governor said the eurozone member is struggling to find €1.8 billion to inject in its second-largest lender, Cyprus Popular Bank, by a June 30 deadline. That means it is increasingly likely to have to accept EU rescue funds. The chairman of Cyprus Popular Bank also suggested an EU loan now seemed more likely.
Markets came under siege earlier during trading in Asia. Japan's Nikkei 224 index dropped 1.7 percent to close at 8,295.63, its lowest finish since Nov. 28, 2011. The broader Topix index ended below the 700 mark for the first time since December 1983, Kyodo News Agency said.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 2 percent to 18,185.59. South Korea's Kospi shed 2.8 percent to 1,783.13. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Indonesia fell 3 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.
Mainland Chinese shares also lost ground, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index falling 2.7 percent to 2,308.55. The index's drop of 64.89 points was the biggest this year.
Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 2 cents to $83.25 per barrel, the lowest since October, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $3.30 to settle at $83.23 in New York on Friday.
In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2494 from $1.2424 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 78.28 yen from 78.08 yen.
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