Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
- An 8.8 on the Richter scale earthquake hit off the coast of Japan early this morning, and a destructive tsunami has now hit the country too. Over 100 people are confirmed dead, with many more missing. Check out photos of the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami >
- Asian markets were down big in overnight trading, with the Nikkei down 1.72%. All of Europe is also in negative territory this morning, and U.S. futures suggest a lower open. Oil prices are sharply lower. WTI has fallen below $100. Copper is getting hammered. Gold and silver are sliding, too. Now, here are the 10 unusual stocks attracting huge interest this morning >
- There are concerns the tsunami that hit Japan has destroyed some Pacific islands and may hit Hawaii or the U.S. Northwest coast. There is also a nuclear emergency in Japan’s north where cooling systems have failed at a plant. Follow developments live at Business Insider >
- The Bank of Japan says that it intends to provide liquidity for the Japanese market in the wake of the disaster. The government has also pledged to rebuild, which will increase spending for a government that’s debt already worries many.
- The market reaction to the destruction has seen reinsurance stocks slammed in Europe, including big names like Swiss Re and Munich Re. The yen has moved higher and copper has moved lower. Don’t miss: Incredible video of the tsunami flooding a Japanese airport in less than 60 seconds >
- U.S. retail sales data for February came in in line with expectations. Read about it here >
- Eurozone leaders meet today to discuss alterations to the current rules around the region’s bailout program. Leaders have two weeks to work out a deal, before the big EU summit. Here are the 14 countries more likely to default than Spain >
- UK PPI increased 5.3% year-over-year, due to rising food and energy costs. The month-over-month increase slowed in February to 0.5%. Check out 10 companies Citi thinks will do great in an inflationary environment >
- Nomura is on the brink of selling restaurant chain Skylark to Bain Capital LLC for around $3.6 billion. The sale of the Japanese restaurant chain will likely go through by the end of March.
- Apple’s iPad 2 goes on sale today.
- Issues in the Middle East have cooled today, with the Saudi day of rage failing to materialise yet. European leaders are meeting on Libya today, with the likely result more stern talk, but little action. Oil has fallen bellow $100 a barrel. Don’t miss: The 11 countries at risk of becoming the next Egypt >
- Bonus: Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have split.
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