Sand bags stacked in front of the New York Stock Exchange as Hurricane Sandy… (Richard Drew / Associated…)
The stock market will likely remain closed Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast. But when will it reopen?
Duncan Niederauer, chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange's parent company NYSE Euronext, told CNBC that markets will need to open by Wednesday, no matter what the damage, because options expire that day, the end of October.
“It’s hard to imagine we would be open tomorrow,” Niederauer told CNBC, though a final decision to close Tuesday would be announced in the middle of the day Monday.
After initially announcing plans to close only the physical trading floor Monday, NYSE said it would scrap contingency plans for all-electronic trading late Sunday. The Nasdaq and other exchanges announced they would close too.
Niederauer told CNBC that exchanges eventually made the right call. While it would be easy for them to operate, brokers, traders and other market participants could not easily work.
Indeed, all of the trains that ferry Wall Street employees to their offices had been shut down by early Monday. Officials shut down the New York City subway, the PATH train between New York and New Jersey, not to mention commuter lines to New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island. Widespread power outages could complicate plans to work remotely.
Securities and Exchange Commission spokesman John Nester said in a statement: "The decision was made by the markets and market participants after careful consideration in consultation with the SEC. The SEC will continue to be in communication with the markets as the situation warrants."
Though U.S. stock markets weren't open Monday, stock futures edged lower. Dow Jones industrial average futures dropped 61 points, or 0.5%, to 12,993, Bloomberg News reported. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December retreated 0.4% to 1,402.4.
This will be a big week for investors once trading resumes. The federal government plans to release October's unemployment report on Friday.
No trading: Wall Street to be closed for business Monday
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Wall Street shuts for storm; trading may not resume until Wednesday