Jun 22, 2012 1:56 AM
BANGKOK, THAILAND - Asian stock markets fell Friday as gloomy economic reports from the world's two biggest economies piled, heightening fears of a sharper global downturn.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that the four-week average of applications for unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in nine months. Meanwhile, sales of previously owned homes fell 1.5 percent in May.
A further sign of weakness came from the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve, which issued a report showing that manufacturing in the northeast had experienced a sharp decrease due to a steep fall in company orders.
Appetite for financial assets such as stocks was also dented by the results of a monthly HSBC survey, which showed that manufacturing in China has continued to contract.