Colin Barr

Following the money in banking, economics, and Washington

Why Japan's mess doesn't mean recession

March 15, 2011: 5:08 PM ET

This quick quiz just in from Citigroup's Steve Wieting. What do these disasters have in common?

  1. Three Mile Island
  2. Chernobyl
  3. Kobe earthquake
  4. Indian Ocean tsunami
  5. Hurricane Katrina

Stumped?

"These are five tragic events with one thing in common: They didn't precede U.S. or global recessions."

True enough. So while a big stock market selloff is not exactly an all-clear sign, Wieting contends the issue is uncertainty, rather than sure economic doom, and investors should proceed accordingly. Predicting a recession off this tragedy, he said, is not only difficult but "speculative."

Something to chew on, anyway.

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About This Author
Colin Barr
Colin Barr
Senior Writer, Fortune

Colin Barr has covered finance for Fortune.com since November 2007. Previously he was a writer and editor for TheStreet.com, winning a 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street," and for Dow Jones Newswires. He is a 1991 graduate of Penn State and lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife Meena Bose and their two kids.

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