Instant TV special: calculating the economic toll of the Boston bombings

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Wall-to-wall coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings gives way to a different aftermath, this one also grim.

FOX Business News anchorman Neil Cavuto has already put together a two-hour, live special called “Cost of Freedom,” set to air Saturday on the network beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Mr. Cavuto will examine the actual impact of the Boston attack on the stock market and the economy.

Local businesses in the city and surrounding towns “ground to a halt” during the manhunt, the network reported, a microcosm of the effects of terrorism on normal commerce.

The larger picture has been intensely examined worldwide. Terrorism effects on tourism in several countries, for example, has been notable. Insurance coverage for such attacks has become complicated indeed. In the decade following 9/11, one wide ranging study found that the attacks cost the U.S. more than $3 billion.

“Al Qaeda spent roughly half a million dollars to destroy the World Trade Center and cripple the Pentagon. What has been the cost to the United States? In a survey of estimates by The New York Times, the answer is $3.3 trillion, or about $7 million for every dollar Al Qaeda spent planning and executing the attacks,” reports the newspaper.

Physical damage, homeland security, overseas war funding, business interruption and reduced travel were among the factors.

“While not all of the costs have been borne by the government - and some are still to come - this total equals one-fifth of the current national debt.” The Times said in the 2011 report.

Some disagree with the potential toll of the Boston bombing, at least in the market sector, meanwhile. Nomura analyst Alistair Newton told CNBC that the effect on “homeland security-related stocks” would be minimal.

“The direct economic impact tends to be very, very small,” Mr. Newton, citing patterns in Israel and other nations.

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