Oct. 29 - Hurricane Sandy hits the U.S. East Coast halting public transport and closing businesses. All U.S. stock exchanges were closed on Monday - it's the first time in 27 years bad weather has forced a market shutdown. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The N-Y-S-E was no match for S-A-N-DEE. Sandy, as in Hurricane Sandy, shutdown U.S. markets - the first weather-related closure of Wall Street in 27 years - as the heart of New York's financial district is threatened by flood. Trading desks would have been empty anyway with public transport, bridges, and tunnels along the Eastern seaboard shut down. Financial markets will remain closed on Tuesday with hopes of re-opening on Wednesday "conditions permitting." Exchanges and market participants collaborated on the decision, according to a statement by the Big Board. Earlier in the day, NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer in an interview on CNBC said the market needs to open on Wednesday because of important end-of-the month trading activities. The shutdown is being felt and watched over in Europe, says Michael Hewson of CMC Markets. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL HEWSON, CMC MARKETS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It certainly had an effect on European markets today, Volumes are fairly low, yes equity markets are slightly lower but I think that's more of a hangover as a result of the revised outlooks for companies under the current earnings season." But Sandy's powerful winds were strong enough to put earnings season on hold and sidelined activity in New York City, arguably the busiest city in the world. Refineries on the East Coast are also threatened by her fury, which will impact oil prices, which by the way are traded at the New York Mercantile Exchange, which is situated at river's edge. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL HEWSON, CMC MARKETS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Well that's one of the strange things, oil prices are lower today, despite the fact that refinery shutdowns would ordinarily signify a rise in prices because of the impact on supply but I think investors are tending to take a much more risk averse attitude at the moment to respect to equity markets because of the very, very uncertain growth outlook for not only company earnings but also for economic growth as well." Meanwhile, Sandy not getting any applause on Broadway; New York's theater district shut down with the brunt of the storm expected to hit at curtain time. All-in-all, Sandy's total impact on the economy has yet to be felt but projections by EQECAT believes economic damage could be somewhere between 10 billion and 20 billion dollars.