fukushima nuclear japan

Photo: ap

Markets rode a roller coaster of news on the crisis in Fukushima today, but finished off their lows.First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow down 2.04%
  • S&P 500 down 1.95%
  • NASDAQ down 1.89%

Now, the headlines:

  • In Japan overnight, the Nikkei rebounded sharply, up 5.68%. Other Asian indices also ended the day higher, as it seemed the situation at Fukushima was becoming more stable.
  • It became apparent soon there after that that was not true. The day was spent watching headlines hit the wires on Fukushima. The first, this morning, that the problem was spreading to reactors 4 and 5. That, along with a downgrade of Portuguese debt overnight, sent European shares tumbling.
  • U.S. markets were hit by a double wammy of bad economic data before the open, with housing starts slowing sharply and PPI surging. See why that “red hot” PPI number may not be that bad >
  • The situation in Bahrain simmered throughout the day, with video of a violent government crackdown on protesters released. It shows police officers shooting a protester at point blank range. For more on why Bahrain matters click here >
  • And then the Fukoshima news started: First, the EU energy commissioner said a catastrophic event could occur in the next few hours. Then, he backtracked. Then, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said we had experienced a “partial meltdown.” Finally, we heard TEPCO was close to sorting out a solution for the powerline problem. Then they too backtracked. Read the latest on the situation here >
  • Apple was downgraded by a single analyst, and sold off over 4%.
  • All the while, the yen fell below 80 JPY/USD. That’s a 16-year low.

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