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Sandy takes New York by storm

Markets last closed for two consecutive weather-related holidays in 1888

October 30, 2012

It has been 124 years since U.S. stock markets closed due to weather for two consecutive days, but megastorm Sandy forced markets to close again Tuesday.

Authorities shuttered markets before and after Hurricane Sandy ripped through New York, battering the region and leaving at least 6.5 million without power.

Within a week of a national election, Sandy is putting New York to a test. Markets last closed for two consecutive weather-related holidays in 1888, a statistic that proves New York's resilience. But markets bowed to Mother Nature Tuesday as authorities thought it best to provide the city with a day of triage.

Some commodity and international trading was still online, but the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, and BATS Global Markets all said they would remain closed.

Only one of the three, the NYSE, announced it would re-open Wednesday although others may make their announcements sometime Tuesday.

The CME Group said it would close at 9:15 a.m. EDT Tuesday after allowing for overnight trading. It could not operate its trading floor if it wanted to since it is in an area where an evacuation was ordered by the city.

Only electronic trading of energy and metals would go on, The New York Times reported.

Whatever impact this unscheduled break has on markets is certain to iron itself out within a week -- unless the damage proves so severe investors retreat from companies with grossly affected profit margins.

Other companies, however, might do well if their services are in sudden demand. For the most part, though, companies don't wait for a hurricane in the northeast to make a profit.

In the city, it doesn't get much more decisive than this: Goldman Sachs told its employees to stay home and Citigroup said it would stay shuttered Tuesday. JPMorgan Chase said it would operate with a skeletal staff.

Investors might see some pent up demand when markets re-open. British oil giant BP reported better-than-expected profits in the third quarter with earnings of $5.4 billion.

Ford Motor Co. announced its best third quarter ever with profits of $1.6 billion despite a marked slowdown in Europe due to the economic slowdown there.

In North America, Ford earned $2.3 billion, a company record that technically dates back to 2000 when Ford began to report on its North American earnings separately, CBS reported.

In Europe, Ford lost $468 million. It has already announced it would shutter three plants on the continent with the expectation that 2012 and 2013 would include losses as high as $1.5 billion for the automaker's European operations.

In international markets Tuesday, the Nikkei 225 index in Japan dropped 0.98 percent while the Shanghai composite index in China gained 0.17 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.38 percent while the Sensex in India lost 1.1 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.2 percent.

In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain rose 0.8 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany gained 0.88 percent. The CAC 40 in France added 1.03 percent while the Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.68 percent.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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