Global stocks slid on Monday, highlighted by a 6.2% decline in the Nikkei 225, and Treasuries gained amid concern that Japan’s biggest earthquake on record will hurt economic growth.
The Nikkei 225 plunged 633.94 to close at 9,620.49, with about $306 billion in equity value erased from the Japanese market.
In the U.S., The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 51.24 points, or 0.43%, at 11,993.16; the S&P 500 fell 7.89 points or 0.6%, ending at 1,296.39; and the Nasdaq composite closed down 14.64 points, or 0.54%, at 2,700.97. All numbers are preliminary.
Ten-year Treasury yields lost five basis points to 3.35%. Crude oil erased losses after dipping below $99 a barrel. The euro rose against 15 of 16 major peers.
The slump in the Nikkei 225 pushed the index to the lowest level in four months as the official death toll from the quake reached 1,823, with 2,369 more missing. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is battling to contain radioactive material at its damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, tumbled 24%. Toshiba Corp., a maker of nuclear reactors, slid 16%.
The Bank of Japan pumped a record 15 trillion yen ($183 billion) into the financial system and doubled the size of its asset-buying program to shield the economy from the effects of the quake.
“The market is pricing in a better understanding of the enormity and complexity of the two natural disasters that struck Japan,” said Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-chief investment officer at PIMCO. “The immediate impact will be felt through lower global aggregate demand, disrupted supply chains and fund flows into Japan.”
Four stocks fell for every two that gained in the Stoxx Europe 600 index, which slid 2.91, or 1.1%, to 272.51, its lowest level since Dec. 6.
Officials in Europe widened the scope of their €440 billion ($614 billion) bailout fund and eased the terms of Greek rescue loans, even as they resisted calls to buy bonds in the open market or finance buybacks.
The euro climbed 0.6% to $1.39, and jumped 0.4% against the yen to 114.25.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil for April delivery rose 3 cents to $101.19 a barrel. Earlier it slumped as low as $98.47 as shutdowns of several Japanese refineries reduced demand for the raw material.