japanCars drive through a devastated landscape in Miyagi Prefecture

Photo: ap

As one trader put it to us today, Japan was in the market’s “rearview mirror.” Knock on wood.But first, the scoreboard:

Dow: 164.58
NASDAQ: +19.64
S&P 500: +16.99

And now the top stories:

  • Naturally, the #1 story was once again the nuke crisis. Too much to summarize here, so just follow here for the latest action. The gist: it’s not over, but we did get some some decent, positive headlines.
  • The other huge story was Libya. You can see the latest here. The UN is about to take a vote authorizing air strikes. Qaddafi gave an ominous speech warning of a massacre for rebels remaining in Benghazi.
  • As for markets, the “day” really began around 5:30 PM ET, when the yen made an unreal, disorderly surge. Suddenly, everyone added the phrase “repatriation trade” to their lexicon.
  • However, by the time the Nikkei opened, a lot of that yen surge had been erased. The Nikkei did dive about 5% on the open, but the the time the market was over, a lot of that had been erased. Throughout the night, helicopters dropped water on the plant.
  • In Europe there wasn’t that much news, though a Spanish debt auction went pretty well. The euro rallied on the news.
  • The US was down modestly very early on, but caught a big bid when a flurry of good news came around 8:30. CPI was modest, initial jobless claims were strong, FedEx gave a good earnings outlook. And there were headlines about the Fukushima plant getting connected to the power grid (which later turned out to be premature). 
  • And that was basically it. Throughout the day there were some scare headlines from Fukushima, but nothing too huge. The rally never wavered much. Late in the day, WSJ reported that the Fed would soon approve of more bank dividends, and that seemed to help stocks some. Obama’s speech was also a bit soothing. Other big winners: oil, copper, and gas.
  • Click here to see signs that Tokyo is slowly becoming a ghost city >

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