Japanese stocks recover some losses

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The Independent Online

Japanese stocks rebounded today, recovering some of the massive losses sustained the last two days following a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Other Asian indexes also bounced back even as the economic toll from the disasters, including an escalating nuclear crisis, remained unclear.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index temporarily surged more than 6% but then softened after Japan suspended operations to prevent a stricken nuclear plant from melting down after a surge in radiation made it too dangerous for workers to remain at the facility.

By early afternoon, the index was up 4.2 % to 8,966.17.

On yesterday, the Nikkei closed at its lowest level in almost two years after shedding more than 1,600 points, or 16%, over two days.

The plunge prompted Tokyo Stock Exchange President Atsushi Saito to release a statement last night calling for calm. He noted that foreign investors were net buyers the last two days.

"I also believe that Japan's experience, knowledge and technologies in the area of recovering from earthquakes should not be underestimated and that the stock market will calm down soon," Saito said.

Meanwhile, the central bank pumped money into financial markets for a third day. The Bank of Japan injected 3.5 trillion yen (£27 billion), following injections totalling 23 trillion yen (£176 billion) over the past two days.

Among the major gainers were Japan's big exporters. Toyota rose 6.9%, and Sony shot up 9.3%.