Business, Economics and Jobs

Hurricane Sandy closes US stock markets through Tuesday


US traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on June 18, 2012.


Spencer Platt

The US stock and options markets will remain closed through Tuesday, as the Eastern Seaboard braced for what could be colossal impact from the much-anticipated Hurricane Sandy.

Markets are due to reopen on Wednesday if the storm clears, CNBC reported, noting the last time the markets were closed for two straight days due to weather concerns was in 1888.

The markets last closed due to extreme weather in 1985, when Hurricane Gloria hit the US, Barron's reported.

The decision to keep the markets closed comes after the storm forced tens of thousands of Wall Street employees to remain at home due to the city's mass transit shutdown, CNBC reported.

According to CNBC, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and other global banks have activated their September 11 "emergency plans" to put some traders in hotels near their offices during the shutdown.

Sandy’s “impact on the financial markets and the economy is uncertain at this point,” UBS economist Joseph LaVorgna told Forbes. Forbes reported the markets down on Monday morning: "Dow Jones industrial average futures dropped 87 points. Nasdaq composite futures gave up 21.8 points. And S&P 500 futures lost 8.1 points."

The Guardian went to its archives to unearth some reporting from the 1985 close, which made the front page of the UK paper. At the time, Gloria was described as "the storm of the century," though damage was relatively minor compared to the potential destruction that was feared.

Forecasters are making similar dire predictions about the possible impact from Sandy, warning residents that the alarming statements, widespread closures and mass evacuations are not hyperbolic.

The AP listed five major reasons why Sandy is expected to be one of the worst storms in decades: 1) it's at hurricane strength already, 2) it's expected to collide with another winter storm hanging out in the area, 3) next it'll pick up strong Arctic winds, 4) then it's projected to land right at full moon (read: high tides), promising higher-than-usual storm surges, 5) finally, Sandy's winds could be as strong as 74 miles per hour, threatening to wreak havoc on the coast's power supply lines.

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