Japan quake reaction: one of five things to watch April 8
Nikkei opens initially lower after second major earthquake hits. Also on the radar: Portugal's $130 billion bailout? Madoff cloud over the Mets.
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Another quake in Japan, another EU nation on the brink, and another day without a budget deal. As predicted, the pressure increased on John Boehner and the Masters got a lot of attention. Here's what we're watching for Friday…
1. Staring Down Shutdown: Late Thursday, prospects of a budget deal looked increasingly slim, as the expiration of Friday night's continuing resolution drew increasingly near. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was "not optimistic" ahead of a planned meeting of Congressional leadership with President Obama Thursday evening. Thus far, markets have shrugged off the impact of a limited shutdown, with Goldman Sachs noting that any fiscal drag caused by a closure would be temporary. Looks like we'll be putting theory to the test.
2. Japan Rattled Again: A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Japan, leading to a three-foot high tsunami hitting the country's devastated northeast coast. Global markets reacted on the news, with equities selling off sharply and the dollar falling against the yen. More clarity on the effects become apparent as Japan awakes Friday. However, authorities at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant assured that no further damage occurred as result of the quake. Regardless, the latest shock reminds that Japan's crisis is far from over, as the island nation wrestles with recovery. In early Friday trading, the Nikkei opened down slightly.
3. The Portugal Price-tag: European Union finance ministers face their third bailout package since the debt crisis began. Policymakers gathering just outside of Budapest Friday had been set to begin debating the building blocks of the region's new economic scoreboard. However, after Portugal's caretaker government formally requested EU aid Wednesday, they will have to turn focus to negotiating a loan that some have estimated could cost up to $130 billion. Oh, and another loser? Ireland. The Emerald Isle was hoping to renegotiate its emergency loans ... and the odds of that happening just declined significantly.