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Stock Markets Taking Lead from Nuclear Crisis, AMP’s Oliver Says

Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy in Sydney at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which manages about $98 billion, comments on stock trading today amid growing concerns about the safety of Japanese nuclear plants damaged by the country’s worst earthquake on record.

Japan’s Topix index tumbled as much as 14 percent, its worst intraday loss since the 1987 stock market crash, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 7.5 percent:

“There’s global concern about a major nuclear accident in Japan, which could turn a very bad situation into a terrible one. The economic implications could be severe. If there’s widespread economic disruption in Japan, that would have a serious economic impact on commodities and materials generally.

‘‘Yesterday was a fairly conventional reaction to the earthquake. But today, markets are taking the lead from the problem of the nuclear reactor crisis.

‘‘We don’t know which way this would go. On the one hand this could settle down, and radiation leaks could be limited. If we end up with a full scale meltdown, things could be a lot worse. The nuclear thing has really got investors worried.’’

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