Japan's 9.0 earthquake crippled the country's nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The crisis was rated a 7 by Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency -- a "major accident," and the highest rating possible. With the extent of the damage still unknown, the nuclear meltdown made for a rough trading day the following Wednesday. Investors worried that radiation would continue to leak, leading not only to a potentially massive human toll but a contagious economic one as well.
There's good reason to be both optimistic and cautious as we ring in the New Year.
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