Asian markets fall in early trade after weak data sends US markets lower

TOKYO (AP) — Asian markets plopped lower in early trade Friday, after shares fell in the U.S. on disappointing economic reports.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was down 1.4 percent at 9231.03, while the South Korean Kospi was off 0.53 percent at 1770.22.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1.1 percent. Stocks in Shanghai and Singapore were also lower, while Taiwan was just below even.

The Indian Sensex index was a rare exception, up 1.1 percent.

Wall Street set the stage with a dour performance after data showed an unexpected rise in claims for U.S. unemployment benefits and a drop in manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region.

The numbers spooked investors around the globe, as they could be taken as a sign that the world's largest economy is headed back to recession.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 144 points, or 1.4 percent, to 10,271.21. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index finished off 1.7 percent.

Europe markets were also lower, as shares fell in Britain, Germany and France.

In currencies the dollar rose to 85.30 yen from 85.26 yen late Thursday, while the euro slipped to $1.2806 from $1.2819.