The Nikkei was down 1.7% at an intraday and five-week low, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 1.8%. In Singapore, Nikkei futures plunged 3%. Japanese bond futures, on the other hand, rose more than a full point even as cash bond trading was suspended. Oil tumbled as well, as Japanese industry shuttered in the aftermath of the quake. Gold had been falling after it had hit record territory on Monday, but on news of the quake regained lost ground, with spot gold bid at $1,416.90 in early European trading.
Reuters reported that the yen also fell against the dollar. The quake is the largest to hit Japan since recording began 140 years ago, and it was followed by a tsunami that had already done tremendous damage in Japan but then continued on its way to other land masses in the Pacific Basin.