JAPAN'S Nikkei share index continued its downward slide - 6.5 per cent lower - and hit market
across Asia after more explosions at Fukushima nuclear complex.
No stock on the Nikkei has registered a rise and the nation's Topix index of the top 1600 firms was 6.88 per cent down.
Australia's ASX was inflienced
, down again by half a per cent at 12.30pm after yesterday's similar drop.
It was the same story across Asia with Singapore down 1.36 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang sen by 1.62 per cent, Taiwan's TWSE index 0.94 per cent.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 had lost 28 points to be 4598 at 12.30pm, while the All Ordinaries was down by 25 points, to 4685.
But Japanese indexes are suffering most. It is the biggest two-day drop on the Nikkei to 9.024.5 the biggest since 2008 following yesterday's plunge of 6 per cent.
Energy utilities were hit the hardest in wake of the latest Fukushima blast, energy companies down between nine and 13 per cent on the Nikkei.
Kansei Electric dropped 12.38 per cent, its biggest fall since 1987.
But Tokyo Electric, the operator of the nuclear facilities in peril, is yet to trade after being battered down 25 per cent when it made a brief market appearance late yesterday.
Today the Bank of Japan has pumped a further five trillion yen ($60.71 billion) more into the financial system to soothe money markets, following its 15 trillion yen ($181.78 billion) injection yesterday.
The big names of industry all lost further ground on the Nikkei, with carmakers
Toyota, Honda and Volvo announcing closures of plants until next week, as did other industrry
sectors - including beer makers Sapporo and Asahi and food manufacturer Nestle.
Sony will re-open two plants after stating yesterday it would close 10 plants and two research facilities, with other firms including Canon, Toshiba, Texas Instruments and Panasonic closing most of their production facilities.
All companies are ****ting
facilities to help save power, as periodic blackouts continue across the country which has lost at least 10 per cent of generation. Japan relies on nuclear for 30 per cent of its power.
In Australia, urainium stocks were hit for the second day in a row on the ASX.
The blast at Fukushima reactor unit two of the Number One plant is believed to have resulted from exposed fuel rods and led to a realease
of radioactive material.
Operators of the plant say they cannot rule out a meltdown, with Japanese leaders are becoming upset and frustrated at the lack of clear information from the electrical company.
The nation's PM confirmed in a statement at 1pm Melbourne time that three of the plant's six power centres
had suffered hydrogen explosions and were on fire. He ordered a full evacuation of up to 30 per cent.
Today's falls on markets followed a drop of about half a per cent in Wall Street's Dow Jones index overnight, largely due to the Japanese situation. In the US, uranium stocks were badly hit.
Macquarie Bank has predicted that Japan's loss of nuclear energy - accounting for about 20 per cent of its total - will need to be replaced by extra LNG, which will add to a worldwide demand boosting the price of supplies from Australia.
But for now, the ASX was following world markets affected by the Japanese disaster.
"At the moment the issues which have impacted our market late last week, and in particular yesterday, are certainly carrying over into today, and there's no clearer picture to alleviate that uncertainty that hovers around markets,'' Shaw Stockbroking senior dealer Jamie Spiteri said.
"With Tokyo open and down by over five per cent at the moment, it is an ongoing contributor to that level of uncertainty that overhangs equity markets at the moment, and while there's uncertainty there's funds which are being liquidated out of the market at present.''
Uranium-exposed stocks continue to fall, with Energy Resources down 18 cents, or 2.18 per cent, at $8.07, Paladin Energy had lost 24 cents, or 6.08 per cent, to $3.71 and Extract Resources was 49 cents lower, down 4.99 per cent, at $9.32.
Higher metals prices were seeing better movements for the major materials stocks, with Rio Tinto up 25 cents at $79.40 and BHP Billiton three cents higher to $44.12.
Fortescue Metals had gained six cents to $5.86, and Macarthur Coal was one of the market's best performers, up 41 cents at $11.06.
In the banking sector, Commonwealth Bank was bucking a negative trend, up six cents at $50.64.
Its rivals all were lower, with Westpac down 25 cents at $22.62, ANZ losing 21 cents at $22.75, and NAB was 28 cents lower at $24.40.
Making news, woodchipper Gunns said it was not a significant supplier to paper mills most affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Its shares were up one cent at 50 cents.
Peninsula Energy was the most traded stock after it announced it had found high grade uranium at its Karoo project in South Africa.
Peninsula Energy shares were down 0.8 of a cent, or 9 per cent, to 7.7 cents, with 72.4 million shares changing hands worth $5.8 million.
National turnover at 12.22 pm was 1.27 billion securities changing hands worth $2.01 billion, with 359 stocks up, 605 down and 341 unchanged.