Special Report: How to Invest in the Wake of the Japan Disaster

[Editor's Note: In this special report, Money Morning provides a quick update on the disaster in Japan and then provides readers with free access to the investing reports and news analysis we've been providing since Friday. Our goal: To show you how to invest in the wake of the Japan disaster.]

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Japan's earthquake-ignited nuclear crisis got even worse early today (Wednesday), igniting major losses in stock markets around the world as analysts came to terms with both the spiraling costs of the disaster and the spinoff effects that continue to surface.

The official death toll approached 4,200, with thousands more still missing, NHK World/Radio Japan International reported during its shortwave-radio broadcast to North America at 8 a.m. EDT today. The death toll is expected to go much higher.

Analysts are now estimating the direct costs from Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami to range from $160billion to $200billion – although the costs of the accidents and continued crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is likely to add to those totals in a significant way.

Indeed, the early reports forecast that the disaster could trim the output of Japan's $5.39 trillion economy by half a percentage point – which would add another $25 billion to that tab.

The direct impact on the U.S. economy isn't expected to be large, at this point, but there will be problems. Already, U.S.-based insurers with large exposures to Japan are "pre-announcing" losses and face credit-rating downgrades. And some major companies – such as International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) – are also finding themselves scrutinized. (IBM derives roughly 11% of its revenue from Japan, according to a MarketWatch.com report published early today).

After a three-day sell-off that sent shares down 17%, Japanese stocks rebounded early today. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 488.57 points, or 5.68%, to close at 9,093.72. But it was a different story for U.S. stocks. At 11:16 a.m., the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 9.26 points, or 0.72%, to trade at 1,272.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 112.92 points, or 0.95%, to trade at 12,726.30.

So against a backdrop of such significant uncertainty, with the situation in Japan seeming to change from one report to the next, what's an investor to do? To help you answer that question, the Money Morning news staff has assembled this special report, which contains the best analyses and investment reports that we've put together since this crisis began, and are providing them for you here … all in one place.

In addition to the news/analysis stories that we've published, our experts have also put together several investing reports, and even a video – that we hope will help you make important decisions about your holdings.

To read our "Special Report: How to Invest in the Wake of the Japan Disaster", please read on:

  • Currency Moves: Money Morning's Keith Fitz-Gerald is a top trader. But the fact that he and his family have spent parts of the past 20 summers living in Japan has provided Fitz-Gerald with a detailed understanding of Asia that few other traders possess. Investors who fail to understand how currency shifts in the wake of the Japan disaster could incur major losses. To avoid those losses, read Fitz-Gerald's report by clicking here.
  • A Good Defense: In the aftermath of a disaster as bad as the one in Japan, a defensive-investing posture makes sense. But here's the surprise: With a good defensive-investing strategy, you can still make money. To find out about such a strategy – including several specific investment recommendations – please click here.
  • A Powerful Debate: Three decades have passed since the accident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant seemed to doom commercial nuclear power – in the United States as well as overseas. In the last few years, however, worries about global-warming and global oil supplies and costs appeared to be giving commercial nuclear new life. Have the nuclear power plant accidents in Japan doomed nuclear power for good? Check out Money Morning Associate Editor David Zeiler's report by clicking here.
  • A View of U.S. Stocks: In the late 1980s, in Japan's halcyon days as the world's top economic superpower, a market adage held that "When Tokyo sneezes, Wall Street catches a cold." In the wake of last week's earthquake and tsunami, and the nuclear power plant accidents that have followed, that may be true again. In this Money Morning video, Contributing Editor Shah Gilani, a retired hedge fund manager, tells FoxBusiness News anchor Stuart Varney how Japan's problems could affect U.S. stocks. To view that video, please click here.
  • Are You Worried? First it was the financial crisis. Then the recession. Now the Middle East and the disaster in Japan have been mixed into a stew of uncertainty that's already been seasoned by high unemployment and spikes in food and energy prices. But there are other worries, too. In her weekly poll of readers, Money Morning Associate Editor Kerri Shannon is asking readers to detail their five biggest worries. To read more about our survey, or even to take part, please click here.
  • Export Woes: The nuclear power plant problems have garnered the lion's share of the financial media's attention in recent days. But the after-effects of the earthquake and tsunami that set the nuclear disaster in motion must still be reckoned with. As the world's No. 3 economy and a major exporter, Japan is the main source for such items as semiconductors, a key building block for many of the world's most modern products. To see how the Japan disaster could damage world trade, please click here.
  • Aftershock Aftermath: The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit northeastern Japan Friday had an immediate impact on financial markets all over the world. However, the effects of the damage and rebuilding will reverberate through the Japanese economy for months, if not years. To understand the scope of that rebuilding, please click here.
[Editor's Note: Earthquakes and nuclear meltdowns in Japan, soaring food-and-energy prices, a numbing federal debt load and savings-account rates that make your mattress an alluring place to stuff your money ... well, that's almost enough to make the typical investor surrender.

Almost.

There is a way for you to double your money in the next 12 months - and you don't have to hire a Swiss banker to do it. All you need is the right blend of high-yielding investments. You can find out the details by clicking here. Or you can sign up for The Money Map Report, which each month delivers the most pressing profit opportunities available.]

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About the Author

Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning. With his latest project, Private Briefing, Bill takes you "behind the scenes" of his established investment news website for a closer look at the action. Members get all the expert analysis and exclusive scoops he can't publish... and some of the most valuable picks that turn up in Bill's closed-door sessions with editors and experts.

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