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World Markets React to Japan Disaster

March 11, 2011

I have been monitoring world markets since 11:30 pm PST last night. Here is where we are right now: Yahoo Financial Reports:

Japan’s Nikkei tumbled in the final 30 minutes of trading following the quake closing down 1.7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.6%. Shares of insurance companies like Munich Re and Swiss Re were hard hit in European trading while oil prices fell below $100 per barrel in New York. The quake is expected to at least temporarily curb demand for crude in Asia’s second-largest oil-consuming nation, Bloomberg reports.

Prices of copper and other industrial metals also fell, as did grain and soybean prices amid expectations of falling demand from Japan.

After initially falling, the yen rallied sharply vs. the dollar after the Bank of Japan pledged to provide liquidity and announced plans to hold a board meeting on March 14. Major Japanese corporations have repatriated assets in the wake of other natural disasters in the past, providing further support to the currency.

U.S. stocks fell in pre-market trading but recovered at the open, aided perhaps by the dollar’s weakness.

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