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March 31, 2011

Market tremors

Mar 16th 2011, 16:17 by The Economist online

Japan’s earthquake has a devastating effect on the stockmarket too

UNCERTAINTY over the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake in north-east Japan on March 11th, and the associated radiation leak at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power station 140 miles (225km) north of Toyko, has made trading on Japan’s stockmarket an eventful affair. The Nikkei 225 index fell 17.5% in the three trading days following the catastrophe, wiping some ¥37 trillion ($458 billion) off equities. This compares unfavourably with market reactions to other disasters. Once the New York Stock Exchange had reopened six days after the September 11th terrorist attacks, the S&P 500 fell by 11.6% over five trading days, but after a further 14 days it had recovered to its pre-disaster level. After Japan’s last severe earthquake in the city of Kobe in 1995 the Nikkei 225 fell by 7.6% over the next four trading days, but it did not recover to its pre-earthquake level for another 11 months. The Nikkei 225 regained some lost ground today, closing up 5.7%. The Japanese will be hoping for the same bounce back in their own fortunes.

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