A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai
A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai April 6, 2011. REUTERS

Most Asian markets fell Friday due to investor concerns following signs of a faltering U.S. economy and the downgrading of global banks by Moody's Investor Service.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average declined 0.53 percent or 47.09 points to 8,776.98. Among major losers were Suzuki Motor Corp. (2.48 percent) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (1.34 percent).

Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.99 percent or 189.89 points to 19,075.18. Major losers were HSBC Holdings PLC (1.17 percent), BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd (1.2 percent) and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (1 percent). The Chinese Shanghai Composite was closed for holiday.

South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index fell 2.37 percent or 44.76 points to 18,44.39. Shares of Samsung Electronics Co. declined 2.5 percent, and shares of LG Electronics dropped 2 percent.

India's BSE Sensex fell 0.62 percent or 105.74 points to 16,926.82. Major losers were Ambuja Cements Ltd (2.68 percent), GMR Infrastructure (1.54 percent) and Infosys (1.42 percent).

The disappointing U.S. data dragged down investor sentiment. Meanwhile, existing home sales in the U.S. in May fell 1.5 percent to a 4.55 million annualized rate, according to the National Association of Realtors, suggesting that the recovery in housing market demand has lost a bit of momentum.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that jobless claims declined from 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 387,000 for the week ending June 16, but the figure was higher than the expected decrease of 380,000.

Adding to the market worries Thursday was the report that Moody's downgraded five U.S. banks, nine European banks and the Royal Bank of Canada. It stated that these banks had significant exposure to the volatility and risk of outsized losses inherent in capital markets activities.

Market players were also disappointed that there was no positive news from the euro zone. The flash estimate of the euro zone manufacturing PMI fell to a 3-year low of 44.8 in June from the final reading of 45.1 in May. This confirmed the picture of falling economic activity in the euro zone as a whole.