Stocks to reopen after longest storm shutdown since 1888

Market Makers

NYSE plans to operate the floor with at least 100 people including designated market makers and other personnel tomorrow, Leibowitz said. All NYSE-listed companies will be represented by their market makers, though the firms may not be “fully staffed,” he said.

The company’s main data center for its U.S. markets in Mahwah, New Jersey, “cut over to back-up power as a precaution yesterday” and may be back on full power later today, Leibowitz said. He expects all NYSE Euronext exchanges run out of the Mahwah facility operate normally tomorrow. “It’s better to cut over to back-up power when you can control it,” he said.

The NYSE began testing for a back-up plan that would have been necessary had storm damage prevented it from reopening the floor tomorrow. Had that been the case, NYSE Arca, its electronic market, would be deemed the primary market for NYSE- listed stocks and the Big Board wouldn’t have operated. Firms started to test their systems at 9:30 a.m.

Consecutive Shutdowns

American equity markets were closed yesterday and today, the first consecutive shutdowns because of weather in more than a century. The last comparable closure of the NYSE was on March 12 and 13, 1888, when a blizzard dumped 21 inches of snow on New York, according to the company’s website. The exchange was closed for about 1 1/2 days after a snowstorm in February 1978.

The NYSE’s reputation will suffer because of the shutdown, said former SEC Chairman Levitt.

“People look to the New York Stock Exchange as being the symbol of American capitalism, and to see the exchange go down for two days without an adequate backup plan is very, very unfortunate,” Levitt said on a Bloomberg Radio interview today. “To see the New York Stock Exchange crippled is a body blow that will really shake the image of that institution for a long time to come.”

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