Simmering tensions with North Korea were also weighing on the market in early trading Thursday.
Gold prices posted strong weekly gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-heads-for-strong-weekly-gain-as-stock-market-exit-persists-2017-08-11) thanks to safe-haven demand.
With the tense mood pushing European shares down for a third day and Wall Street set to fall again, global stocks were on course for their worst week since Trump won November's USA presidential election.
On Wednesday, second quarter nonfarm productivity rose.9% and unit labor costs rose.6%.
Earlier on Thursday, North Korea revealed a plan to launch ballistic missiles toward a major US military hub in the Pacific.
The euro eased 0.1 per cent to $1.1766, staying below a high of around $1.1910 set last week, the euro's strongest level in 2-1/2 years.
Against the tense backdrop, the South Korean won extended its losses on Thursday and touched its lowest level against the dollar in about a month.
Latest holdings at the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell a slight 0.03 per cent to 786.87 tonnes on Monday, the lowest since March 2016.
MSCI's main index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, was last down 0.6 percent.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index shed 0.9 per cent to 7,323.45 points.
Instead, investors turned to assets that tend to benefit in times of geopolitical and financial stress.
And in a textbook-type cross-asset move toward safety in times of trouble, the Japanese yen hit an eight-week high against the US dollar while spot gold also reached a two-month high. The precious metal is often seen as a safe haven for investors during times of uncertainty. "We believe the recent recovery should run out of steam once the United States dollar regains strength", said Norbert Rücker, Julius Baer's head of Macro & Commodity research.
Banks also fell 0.9 percent, putting the index on track for its worst week in nine months. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 1.6 percent to 27,314.74. "Geopolitical risks don't really influence Korean markets", he said.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 0.73 percent. Revenue dropped slightly to $14.24 billion, and adjusted earnings dropped 4 cents per share to $1.58, but beat estimates of $1.55.
Yields on core government debt fell.
December Comex Gold futures settled the session at $1290.10, up $10.80 or +0.84%.
"We predicted KOSPI's July support level to be 2,300, but there is a possibility that it will fall below the mark in a couple of months", he said.
ANALYST'S TAKE: The U.S.jobs figure "was through the roof" and the NFIB survey "painted a much better picture for the U.S. economy than most believed", Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a report. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 10 cents to $52.24 in London.