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Asian markets mostly fall ahead of US jobs report

Sep 2, 2011 1:20:00 AM - thestate.com
Asian stock markets mostly fell Friday after a decline on Wall Street and ahead of the release of closely watched U.S. employment figures.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index, Asia's biggest market, fell 1.2 percent to 8,955.30, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined 1.3 percent to 20,313.99.

The U.S. Labor Department announces figures for employment and the jobless rate in August later Friday. Employers are expected to have added 93,000 jobs. Such a figure would not significantly dent the current unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

Fears that the U.S. economy is in danger of falling back into recession have dogged the markets, though recent indicators - including gains in auto sales, manufacturing and consumer spending - point to steady, though not strong, growth.

On the negative side, however, consumer confidence plunged in August to a two-year low and a key category that tracks business investment plans declined 0.9 percent in July.

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