May 22, 2013
Markets tumble on Japan but pull off lows
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq turned negative for the year on 2011's highest volume in a sharp selloff as investors feared Japan's nuclear crisis could worsen.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 242.12 points, or 2.04 percent, at 11,613.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 24.99 points, or 1.95 percent, at 1,256.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 50.51 points, or 1.89 percent, at 2,616.82.
European shares extended a losing run to six days as worries about the nuclear crisis in Japan and unrest in the Middle East intensified, and banks fell after Portugal's sovereign debt was downgraded.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares fell 1.4 percent to end the day provisionally at 1,069.15 points, its lowest close in three and a half months.Japanese stocks rebounded from a major pummeling that some investors thought overdone, lifting equities elsewhere and allowing the yen to dip from a near record high against the dollar.
The day's recovery saw the Nikkei regain 5.7 percent, but still left it down more than 11 percent for the year.
There was a widespread belief that the post-earthquake sell-off had gone too far too quickly, but still concern that the nuclear reactor crisis was unresolved.
"Uncertainty in the Fukushima nuclear power plant is clearly making market participants very nervous," said Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets in Tokyo.