JAPAN DISASTER: Petchem, refinery shares rebound after sell-offs

16 March 2011 03:55  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Shares of major Japanese companies rebounded on Wednesday, recapturing losses in the previous day that were spurred by an escalating nuclear crisis at an earthquake-stricken nuclear facility in Fukushima.

At 11:00 hours Singapore time (03:00 GMT), the Nikkei 225 closed the morning session 375.99 points higher, or up 4.47%, at 8,981.14 points. The Nikkei slumped 10.6% on Tuesday after a 6.2% slide on Monday.

The benchmark index surged over 6% at one point on Wednesday, reclaiming back about a third of its losses since the deadly earthquake and tsunami on Friday, but then slipped back below the psychologically important 9,000 point level.

Meanwhile, Mitsui Chemicals surged 13.94% and Mitsubishi Chemical was up 6.87%. The two companies had shut several petrochemical facilities in the quake-hit Chiba prefecture.

Cosmo Oil shares were up 3.98%, while JX Holdings shares were up 7.41% in the early session.

TEPCO operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where four explosions have so far occurred since the fatal quake and tsunami on Friday. Worries over radiation leakage from the facility fuelled a sharp two-day sell-off on the Nikkei since trading resumed on Monday.

The latest explosion at the No 4 cracker on Tuesday increased radiation levels at the Fukushima facility to levels considered a health risk to humans, media reports said.

TEPCO announced on Wednesday morning that a fuel pool at the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s No 3 reactor may have heated up and produced steam, following media images that showed white smoke drifting from the plant.

Japanese broadcaster NHK earlier said that flames were no longer visible at the No 4 reactor of the Fukushima plant, 240 km north of Tokyo, according to a Reuters report.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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