Stocks headed lower following Japan earthquake

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are headed for a lower opening as investors assess the economic fallout of a massive earthquake in Japan.

The devastating earthquake and tsunami along Japan’s northeast coast killed thousands of people and led to what is expected to be billions in dollars of damage. That raised fears of a slowdown in the world’s third-largest economy.

Oil prices fell $1.57 to $99.59 a barrel Monday, and Japan’s central bank pumped a record $184 billion into money market accounts to encourage bank lending.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 633.94 points, or 6.2 percent, to 9,620.49 — its lowest level in four months. The decline wiped out this year’s gains.

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