Japan Earthquake: Economic and Market Impact

Last Updated Mar 11, 2011 2:13 PM EST

The damage from the massive earthquake in Japan will impact the world's third largest economy, but will it derail the global economic recovery? While details are slowly emerging in these early hours, we can look back to the Kobe earthquake of 1995 as a guide. The Kobe quake caused $100 billion of damage to the Japanese economy, but it only took days for the Japanese stock market to recover.

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.

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.