Monday, March 14, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Japan stock market (Nikkei 225) plummets another 600 points as nuclear disaster unfolds

Japanese stocks tumbled 6% early Tuesday, the second straight session of huge declines, as the nation continues to cope with the aftermath of last week's earthquake.

The Nikkei 225 index, the most prominent measure of Tokyo market stocks, dropped 615 points, or 6.4%, within the first two hours of the session. That was on top of a 6.2% drop Monday, the first full trading day after the quake. In all, the index has fallen nearly 12% in the two days.

The Tokyo market opened shortly after the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan reported an "explosive impact" at the plant's No. 2 reactor, a day after a hydrogen explosion rocked another reactor.

The plant was among the many structures damaged or destroyed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

The confirmed death toll is 1,897, but the Kyodo News Agency said that doesn't take into account reports of thousands of bodies in one northeastern prefecture. Thousands more are missing and 450,000 people are reported homeless. (read more)