Stock markets in Asia and Europe fell Monday as investors reacted to Wall Street's sharp Friday losses amid growing concerns over record oil prices and a sluggish U.S. economy.

Japan's Nikkei closed more than two percent lower, while markets in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand were all down one percent or more.  Indian shares were hit hardest, with the benchmark Sensex in Mumbai down three percent in afternoon trading.

Major European stock markets were down slightly at midday. 

Crude oil prices also declined in Asia and in early morning European trading.

On Friday, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial average fell more than three percent - the steepest single-day drop in more than 15 months.

The fall in New York was triggered by an unprecedented jump in oil prices, a declining U.S. dollar and the sharpest one-month increase in the U.S. unemployment rate in over two decades.

Crude oil prices jumped almost $11 on Friday, to over $138 a barrel at the end of the trading day, the biggest single-day increase on record.

And figures released Friday showed that the U.S. unemployment rate had jumped from five, to five-point-five percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.