Japan Crisis Force U.S. Markets Lower on Wednesday

Mar 16, 2011, 08:48

The crisis in Japan continues to dominate world and business headlines - and on Wednesday - the major stock markets in the United States certainly took notice.

Germany is shutting down its nuclear power plants and the European Union said it would asses all 143 plants in the EU in reaction to a troubled nuclear power plant in Japan, which was rocked by the earthquake and the follow-up tsunami that knocked out back up cooling systems.

In economic reports, the Labor Department said the U.S. Producer Prices index rose 1.6 percent in February compared to January. Private home building starts in February dropped 22.5 percent from January, with building permits down 8.2 percent from the previous month, the Commerce Department said.

In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 53.85 points or 0.45 percent to 11,801.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3.38 or 0.26 percent to 1,278.49. The Nasdaq composite index of tech-dominated stock lost 2.09 or 0.08 percent to 2,665.24.

Representing heavy-weights in the corporate world with international business concerns, Dow components are apt to feel the effects of a disaster overseas more than those of a broader index, such as the S&P; 500.

The 10-year treasury note fell 8/32 to yield 3.27 percent.

The euro fell to $1.3938 from Tuesday's $1.3996. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 80.5935 yen from Tuesday's 80.81 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index recovered part of Tuesday's 10 percent decline. The Nikkei index gained 5.68 percent, 488.57, to 9.093.72 Wednesday.

Source: UPI