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Japan’s Nikkei plunges 11 percent on radiation fears, sending global markets into a tailspin

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Washington Post
March 15, 2011

LONDON — Japan’s stock market nose-dived nearly 11 percent, leading world markets sharply lower on Tuesday, as an escalating nuclear crisis threatened to compound the devastation from last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

Investors took fright on the news that a radiation leak was detected at a crippled power plant and residents were warned to stay indoors. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average sank a staggering 10.6 percent — more than 1,000 points — to close at 8,605.15 after hitting a midday low of 8,227.63 points, more than 14 percent down.

Following on from Monday’s 6 percent decline, the first trading day since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck the northeastern coast, the Nikkei has now suffered its worst two-day trading losses for 40 years.

The chill was felt across all markets, with the yen boosted by Japanese investors repatriating funds as a precautionary measure against risk and to pay for reconstruction. Oil prices took another hit on fears over the impact on global consumption.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 5:05 am

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