Asian stock markets tumbled on Monday, after Wall Street on Friday closed at its lowest level since February, spooked by disappointing U.S. jobs data and concerns over Hungary's debt problems.
Worries that Europe's sovereign debt troubles could spread reignited, after a Hungarian official said the country was at risk of a Greek-style crisis.
Japan's stocks led the way down, tanking 3.8 percent as investors sold shares across the board due to the debt woes in Hungary and the euro's fall to a more than eight-year low against the yen.
The benchmark Nikkei average finished Monday's session down 380.3 points to 9,520.8 points after touching an intraday low of 9,502.62. The index posted its biggest daily percentage slide since late March 2009.
The broader Topix shed 3.5 percent to 859.21.
Exporters such as Canon were hit hard hard, while Mitsui & Co and other trading houses slid
after metals prices fell on Friday, with disappointing U.S. jobs data adding to doubts about the global economy.
The euro fell as low as 108.20, an 8-½ year low this session.
Many Japanese exporters have set their currency assumption rates for euro/yen at 120-125 yen for the year to March, and investors fret about a stronger yen as it eats into exporters'
profits when repatriated.
Shares of Hitachi sank 7.0 percent to 345 yen after media reported a 7.5 billion pound ($10.9 billion) deal to build and maintain fleet of intercity trains in Britain may be cancelled.
But Hitachi Zosen gained 0.9 percent to 115 yen after the Nikkei business daily reported it and Finnish engine maker Wartsila will start developing fuel cells for manufacturers and other business users looking to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.
Seoul Ends 1.5% Lower
Seoul shares retreated but trimmed earlier losses to close 1.5 percent lower on Monday.
The slide was driven by weak U.S. job figures and renewed concern about the euro zone after news of a potential debt crisis in Hungary, with banks issues leading losses.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) finished down 1.57 percent at 1,637.97 points, versus a drop to 1,618.5 points earlier.
KB Financial Group, the holding company of South Korea's largest lender Kookmin Bank, declined 3.2 percent. Shinhan Financial Group lost 4.8 percent while Hana Financial ended 3.6 percent lower.
The country's big tech names also suffered heavy selling. LG Electronics, the world's No.3 handset maker, fell 3.7 percent, and LG Display, the world's No.2 flat panel producer, shed 3.2 percent.
But Kia Motors bucked the trend, rising 2.5 percent to 33,700 won.
"Kia shares are continuing their rally, boosted by robust sales of its new models including the K5 and Sportage," said Park Sang-won, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities, adding that his 6 month target price on Kia was 42,000 won.
Australian stocks also finished in the red, down 2.7 percent, as concern over U.S. job figures added to investor alarm over sovereign debt levels in Hungary and a slump in metal prices.
The S&P ASX 200 index retreated 123.5 points to 4325.9.
In the resources space, global miner BHP Billiton lost 3.5 percent while Fortescue Metals dropped 6.5 percent.
Mincor Resources fell 4.1 percent after saying last week that Australia's planned mining profits tax could threaten production.
Uncertainty over the 40 percent mining tax, which the government plans to introduce in 2012, also affected other miners. Rio Tinto lost3.0 percent and Macarthur Coal was down 4.7 percent.
Bank stocks also got hammered amid international concern that Hungary might face a Greek-style debt crisis, although the government there is backing away from comments pointing to fiscal problems.
Commonwealth Bank tumbled 2.7 percent, while National Australia Bank fell 3.0 percent and shares in Macquarie Bank shed 4.2 percent.
The New Zealand market was shut for a local holiday.
HK, Taipei & Shanghai Lose Ground
In the Greater China region, markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China all lost ground on renewed investor aversion to risk.
Taiwan stocks dropped 2.54 percent in their biggest one-day percent fall in two weeks,
dragged down by tech exporters, after weak U.S. jobs data and renewed worries over a debt crisis in Europe sparked a flight from risky assets.
The main TAIEX share index ended down 186.76 points at 7,157.83, a level not seen since late May.
TSMC, the world's top contract chip maker, sank 3.0 percent, dragging the electronics sub-index 2.9 percent lower.
Hon Hai Precision slumped 5.6 percent, after the components maker said it had offered workers at its Foxconn unit in China a 66 percent performance-based pay rise.
In Hong Kong, Foxconn shares were suspended from trading, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said in a statement, without giving a reason.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell.
Shares of Aluminum Corp of China declined 4.4 percent on falling aluminum prices.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Bank of Communications (BoCom), China's fifth-biggest lender, fell 0.7 percent after it set details for its $4.8 billion rights issue.
HSBC Holdings, which holds an about 19 percent stake in BoCom, dropped 3.9 percent to HK$71.00, partly hit by weakness in global markets. HSBC has said that it will subscribe to BoCom rights shares allocated to the bank.
China's key stock index trimmed opening losses to stand 1.1 percent lower, extending last week's fall under the twin pressures of a global stock market tumble and huge fundraising plans by major Chinese lenders.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended the day 1.6 percent lower at 2,511.7 points, extending last week's 3.8 percent fall.
Agricultural Bank of China, preparing for the world's largest-ever IPO, unveiled key financial figures on Friday, detailing plans to issue up to 47.6 billion new shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Singapore's Straits Times Index lost as much as 1.9 percent, in line with the region's performance.
Malaysia's KLCI fell 0.6 percent . Shares of Proton declined on disappointment over Volkswagen's pull-out from collaboration talks.