Stocks plunge as Japan nuclear crisis worsens

NEW YORK — Stocks are plunging and bond prices are rising. The nuclear crisis in Japan has intensified following last week’s deadly earthquake and tsunami. The Dow Jones industrial average is down more than 200 points.

The market dropped sharply at the start of trading on news that dangerous levels of radiation are leaking from a crippled nuclear plant. Investors are selling because of uncertainty about the impact the nuclear crisis can have not only on Japan, but also on companies in this country. Japan accounts for 10 percent of U.S. exports.

The Dow is down 205 points, or 1.7 percent, at 11,787. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is down 22, or 1.7 percent, at 1,274. The Nasdaq composite index is down 44, or 1.7 percent, at 2,656.

Investors are seeking the relative safety of U.S. Treasurys, sending prices higher and yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 3.23 percent from 3.36 percent late Monday.

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