U.S. stocks fell in the aftermath of Japan's devastating earthquake on Monday, but other than specific industries such as nuclear power, the broad impact on equities was expected to be short-lived.
Trading volume was unusually low compared with other sell-offs, coming in at 7.68 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, below last year's daily average of 8.47 billion. The recent pullback in stocks had been accompanied by high volume.
I'm encouraged that we're seeing lighter volume on a down day since that could suggest less enthusiasm for selling, said Hank Herrmann, chief executive of Waddell & Reed Financial Inc in Overland Park, Kansas, which manages $90 billion in assets.
Nuclear power stocks fell after explosions at a Japanese plant. The Market Vectors uranium and nuclear energy exchange traded fund
General Electric Co
This is a knee-jerk reaction, but it could put a lid on building new nuclear plants, said James Dunigan, chief investment officer at PNC Wealth Management in Philadelphia, which oversees $105 billion.
Japanese ports handling about 7 percent of the country's industrial output sustained major damage, disrupting the flow of goods globally.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 51.24 points, or 0.43 percent, at 11,993.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 7.89 points, or 0.60 percent, at 1,296.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 14.64 points, or 0.54 percent, at 2,700.97.
Texas Instruments Inc
U.S.-listed shares of Japanese companies declined and the BNY Mellon index of leading Japanese American Depositary Receipts <.BKJP> lost 5.3 percent. Toyota Motor Co <7203.T>
The U.S. benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index came off the session's bottom after falling to a six-week low. The CBOE volatility index <.VIX>, which measures anticipated volatility,
jumped 5.6 percent.
Shares of luxury goods companies worldwide were hit since Japan accounts for 11 percent of global luxury sales. Tiffany
Options activity showed some investors are expecting the stock to plunge more than 8 percent from the current price to about $49 by April expiration, according to Caitlin Duffy, options strategist at Interactive Brokers Group.
(Additional reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Kenneth Barry)