Asian equities hit a new 2013 low
A woman carrying an umbrella walks past a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo on 3 June, 2013, the day the Nikkei tumbled 3.7%.

Asian equities dropped to a new 2013 low on Thursday after Wall Street indices posted losses, following a lower-than-expected growth in private sector employment in May in the world's top economy.

The American economy added 135,000 private sector jobs in May, Automatic Data Processing data showed. But economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires expected an addition of 170,000 jobs, following an earlier April estimate of 119,000 jobs.

Japanese shares were volatile owing to the fluctuating US dollar. The Nikkei fell 1.12% or 145.54 points to 12869.33.

Australia's S&P/ASX shed 0.67% or 32.4 points to 4802.80 after the country reported lower-than-expected first quarter growth figures, which pulled down banking stocks.

Australia's gross domestic product inched up 0.6% during the January-March quarter. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the GDP was 2.5% higher than a year ago. The country is suffering from a lower demand for its commodities as it struggles to move away from mining-led growth.

The Hang Seng dropped 1.15% or 254.59 points to 21814.65 while China's Shanghai composite index shed 0.76% or 17.33 points to 2253.60. Concerns on China's economic growth trajectory weighed on both markets, pulling down realty and banking stocks.

South Korean markets were closed for the Memorial Day holiday. The Kospi ended 1.25% lower on 5 June.

The markets will be looking to Friday's nonfarm payrolls data coming in from the US, known to be a market mover. Concerns about the US Federal Reserve pruning its asset buys at a time of slow economic growth could fuel a sell-off.

Wall Street equities tanked with the Dow and the Nasdaq posting their biggest percentage drops in some six weeks, while the S&P 500 almost ended below its 50-day moving average of 1,604. The Dow dropped 1.43% at 14,960.59 while the S&P 500 index shed 1.38% at 1,608.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.27% at 3,401.48.

A volatile US dollar pulled down shares of Japanese exporters. Consumer electronics firm Sharp dropped 5.5%, while Sony fell 2.4%. Gaming major Nintendo lost 1.5%, after posting early gains on Thursday.

In Sydney, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia was down 0.7%. Shares of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking both lost 0.6%.

Shares of diversified media company Fairfax Media fell 3.3% after it forecast a drop in full-year operating profit.

In Hong Kong, Hang Lung Properties lost 2.6% while China Overseas Land & Investment shed 2.2%. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China was down 1.1%.

In Shanghai, realty firm Gemdale fell 1.8%, while Poly Real Estate Group shed 1.7%. Financial services firm Ping An Insurance Group was down 0.6%.