Stocks slipped after a 7.1 quake hit northeastern Japan.

First, the scoreboard:

Dow: -0.15%
S&P 500: -0.16%
NASDAQ: -0.13%

Now, the headlines:

  • Jean Claude Trichet pulled the trigger and hiked ECB interest rates from 1% to 1.25%. The well-telegraphed move had little impact on markets.
  • Jobless claims came in slightly better than expectations at 382K. Some more good data came out later when retails sales crushed estimates and consumer credit surged a massive 3.8%.
  • Around 10:30 ET, a 7.1 magnitude quake hit off the northeast coast of Japan. Several local power plants went down, and everyone worried that blackouts would interrupt operations at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. Although damage appears to be limited, U.S. markets turned down after the quake and Nikkei futures plunged.
  • All-night and all-day negotiations to pass a budget have failed. This afternoon Harry Reid says a government shutdown is likely. They’ve got one day to pass a bill.
  • The newest state coincident indicators show the best economic health in years. Here’s A Visual History Of How The Economy Imploded, Improved, Faded And Then Finally Got Better >

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