Major US stock exchanges to re-open today


MAJOR US stock exchanges expect to open today after super storm Sandy shut down their trading for two days.

NYSE Euronext said the New York Stock Exchange would open, although it would switch to fully electronic trading if necessary. Nasdaq OMX’s Nasdaq Stock Market will be operating today as well, a source familiar with the matter said.

US exchanges, banks, brokers, and others conferred for hours yesterday morning about the feasibility of resuming trade. The southern tip of Manhattan where Wall Street and the NYSE are located lost power on Monday after being buffeted by Sandy, the worst storm to hit New York since at least 1938.

The New York Stock Exchange, which accounts for about a quarter of US stock market trading volume, is testing the possibility of routing all trades through its electronic platform, chief operating officer Larry Leibowitz said in an interview. Under normal conditions it handles about half its volume through its trading floor downtown. The NYSE has backup generators and 40 hours worth of fuel, Leibowitz said.

Bond markets were also closed yesterday, with traders aiming to reopen today. JPMorgan Chase, the largest US bank, expects many employees will be able to return to buildings starting today, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters.

One of Citigroup’s main investment banking buildings at 388 Greenwich Street in Manhattan had minor flooding, and is without power, an internal memo said. The building sits by the Hudson River. A smaller Citigroup building by the Hudson River is running on a generator. The bank expects both to be accessible within two days.

Plans to resume trading will be complicated by the lingering effect of the storm on New York. A record storm surge flooded subway tunnels and the city’s subway service is not likely to resume for four to five days, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday.

If NYSE Euronext’s New York Stock Exchange headquarters and trading floor are unavailable today, trading in NYSE-listed securities will be executed on the Arca exchange, the exchange operator said in a notice issued to traders late Monday.

“We stress that, as of now, there has been no damage to the NYSE Euronext headquarters that would impair trading floor operations,” NYSE said in the notice.

The NYSE’s headquarters is a few hundred metres up the street from areas of lower Manhattan that have been evacuated.

Nasdaq OMX said in a trader alert late on Monday it would operate its production system in a testing capacity from 7.30am. to 12pm. The NYSE said on Sunday afternoon it planned to close its trading floor and to move all trading to its electronic market.

It backtracked on that idea after traders and regulators expressed concern about moving everything to the all-electronic venue, a plan tested but never used live, given the difficulties and low staffing levels due to the storm.