Last Updated Mar 11, 2011 2:13 PM EST
The most direct impact is likely to be seen in Japanese exporters, like Honda, Toyota and Sony, whose production facilities will face disruption in the coming days. Additionally, Japanese insurance companies are likely to see large losses as a result of the claims associated with the earthquake.
The timing of the current quake could be more significant, however, because the global recovery is so fragile. Just yesterday, U.S. stocks tumbled nearly 2 percent on continued concerns over Middle East unrest. Today, Japanese stocks were down 1.7 percent; other Asian markets were lower; European stocks traded to three-month lows and US stock futures are pointing to a lower opening.