This morning, residents of New York woke up to massive destruction caused by the monstrous Sandy storm. Millions of homes and businesses are going through prolonged power outages on the East Coast. A power plant in Manhattan reportedly caught fire. The natural disaster halted all businesses and has virtually shut down the presidential campaign. It is estimated that at least 10 people were killed in New York as the result of this natural catastrophe.
New York, home to the biggest banks and stock exchanges, has been closed for business for two consecutive days now. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market were closed yesterday, and will remain closed today as well.
Wall Street’s closing due to bad weather is an uncommon happening. Markets closed back in 1888 for two days, due to a stormy blizzard. In the past, the only recent event that shuttered all business was when the Sep 11 attacks took place. The markets took a four day hiatus during that period. The initial decision by the NYSE was to keep the electronic trading open and only close the floor trading, which was later changed to a shut down of all forms of trading. The exchanges are working on resuming electronic trading as soon as the conditions become favorable. It is very likely that electronic trading will open on Wednesday on the NYSE Arca exchange. Both Nasdaq and NYSE have been testing their systems today to check their suitability for an all-electronic platform of trading.
The shut down of the major markets comes at a critical time, as many companies are reporting their quarterly earnings, most have rescheduled their earnings calls, while only a few reported reported as planned. For many asset managers, the end of October marks the end of FY2012, and these funds usually close or reduce their positions in the last few days. The shutdown of all trading sessions could impede their planned transactions for the end of the month, this in turn will have an impact on their reported holdings for the next quarter.
Stock Futures continued to trade on Monday and Tuesday with light volumes, and on the boundary of the industrial average for Dow Jones , the S& P’s 500 index, and the Nasdaq composite index.
The Labor Department will report job stats for the month on Friday, although the figures won’t be influenced by the hurricane Sandy, the report will be a crucial, as it will be the last one issued before the presidential elections.
In the business sector, Deutsche Bank AG (ETR:DBK) (FRA:DBK) (NYSE:DB) reported flat earnings, while UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) announced its plan to slice jobs. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) reported quarterly earnings as scheduled and exceeded analyst expectations.
In the technology sector, MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) reported a handsome profit for the third quarter. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fired two senior executives, namely, Scott Forstall and John Browett, on Monday.
Websites like Huffington Post, Gawker, Buzz Feed were down for some time during the day, due to troubles with power transmission.