Links and Reading for March 16th

Some of the more interesting and important items for March 16th :

  • Nikkei 225 Futures in Chicago Show Japanese Stocks May Plunge – Businessweek – Contracts expiring in June changed hands for 8,325 in Chicago as of 7:19 a.m. Tokyo time today. That’s 7 percent less than the futures closing level yesterday of 8,950 in Singapore. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures fell 0.7 percent to 1,245. The yen reached a post-World War II high against the dollar as the risk of radiation leaks from crippled nuclear plants in Japan stoked speculation insurers and investors will redeem overseas assets to pay for damages.
  • Copper Sliding as Hedge Funds ‘Get Out of Dodge’: Chart of the Day – Bloomberg – Copper futures are headed for their biggest monthly decline in more than a year, halting a rally that sent prices to a record in February, as China seeks to slow its economy and hedge funds switch to less-risky assets.
  • Yen’s bullet train – Market Junkie – MarketWatch – Just as U.S. stock traders were catching their collective breath after a whirlwind day in the U.S. markets, here comes the yen — surging to a new high of 76.32 yen against the U.S. dollar and sparking a wave of speculation among currency analysts that more intervention is in store.
  • Stocks lose yearly gains on nuclear crisis Market Snapshot – MarketWatch – NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Fears over Japan’s nuclear crisis sent U.S. stocks into a broad swoon Wednesday, turning the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite lower for the year, as evacuation warnings spurred investor worries of meltdowns and a radiation catastrophe.
  • Portugal’s Rating Cut Two Steps by Moody’s on Outlook – Bloomberg – Portugal’s debt rating was cut by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited a weaker outlook for economic growth, risks to the government’s deficit- reduction plans and a possible need to recapitalize banks.