Tokyo stocks dive for second day on reactor fears
Japanese stocks plunged as trading opened Tuesday, adding to Monday’s heavy losses, as concerns deepened about the damaged Fukushima nuclear power reactors.
The Nikkei-225 share index was down 633 points, or 6.6%, to 8,986 at about 6:30 p.m. PDT, about 90 minutes into the trading session.
The Nikkei had plummeted 6.2% on Monday, which was many investors’ first chance to react to Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
A hydrogen explosion Tuesday morning destroyed the outer building of a quake-damaged Unit 2 nuclear reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Engineers had been struggling overnight to cool the nuclear core and stave off a meltdown that could release radioactivity over a wide area,” the Times’ Laura King and Mark Magnier wrote.
Some investors continued to pile into Japanese government bonds for relative safety, despite the rock-bottom yields on the securities. The five-year Japanese government bond yield fell to 0.44% from 0.49% on Monday and 0.56% on Friday. Yields fell on government bonds worldwide on Monday.
Elsewhere in early trading Tuesday in the Asia/Pacific region, the Australian market was down 0.6%, Taiwan’s market was off 0.6% and Singapore was down 1%.
Go here for updates on stock market indexes in Japan and across Asia.
-- Tom Petruno