Obama Cites "Positive Trend" in Economic Growth as Earthquake Fallout Looms


The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a sharp drop before recovering in early trading. The index was 12,044.40, up 0.50 percent, at the end of the day.

Mike Fitzpatrick, editor of Energy Overview newsletter, said the tsunami will contribute to a drop in oil prices for the unforeseeable future.

"With Japan's economy decimated, it will constrict oil demand from Japan. For the moment, the tsunami problem seems to have trumped Libya concerns apparently," Fitzpatrick said.

Oil futures settled at 101.16 on Friday, down $1.54 from Thursday, after dropping to a low of $99.01 in early trading.

"It's going to be a while until there's an accurate assessment of how much damage has been done," Fitzpatrick said.

Reuters reported a "major fire" at an oil refinery east of Tokyo, with all operations halted.

Japan is the third largest consumer of oil in the world, behind the United States and China, and the second-largest net importer of crude oil, according to the Department of Energy.

There's Also the Human Costs

Di Galoma also added that other factors in the Middle East are affecting the marketplace.

"I think all eyes are on Saudi Arabia, where demonstrations are supposed to hit the streets," he said. "We could see some growing safety bid from investors seeking safety out of other markets."

But there's still the human toll to consider, with reports that the 23-foot tsunami killed at least 200 people and destroyed nuclear power plants, bridges and other infrastructure.

"Right now, the place to start is this is a human tragedy for the people who've lost their lives, for their families, the communities that will never be the same again," Summers said.

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