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Japanese stock rebounds as Central Bank steps in

Local residents walk through an area damaged by a tsunami after a 9.0 magnitude strong earthquake struck off the coast of north-eastern Japan, on March 14.

JEREMY HOBSON: Now let's get to the situation in Japan. Emergency workers are still trying to cool reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Toyota says it'll keep its factories there closed for at least another week. But the Japanese stock market had a big rebound today. It's up 5 percent.

Let's get more on that from Richard DeKaser, economist at the Parthenon Group. He's with us live from Boston. Good morning.

RICHARD DEKASER: Good morning.

HOBSON: So what's going on? Did Japanese investors suddenly decide they made a big mistake in selling their stocks over the last couple days?

DEKASER: I think that's part of the story. You know the market was off 18 percent since the tsunami hit and I think realistically that's over doing it for what should be a long term factor. But also I think the Central Bank -- Japanese Central Bank -- has indicated it's going to be buying some securities. And I think by pulling out all the stops once again, that's also harden investors.

HOBSON: And I think to the tune of something like $700 billion. Richard, with these stocks fluctuating wildly and the Central Bank pumping a ton of money I have to say it sounds somewhat like what happened here a few years ago with the financial crisis. Are there similarities?

DEKASER: There are. Number one similarity is that both responses were in the context of what appeared to be an outright panic. Where they differ however is that back in 2008 when the U.S. Central Bank first started intervening in a very big way, we were essentially looking at the collapse of the financial system. Major financial institutions were going down. In Japan's case I think they're principally responding to a short term event, not a cratering financial system.

HOBSON: Richard DeKaser, economist at the Parthenon Group, thanks so much.

DEKASER: My pleasure.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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