U.S. Markets to Remain Closed on Wednesday
Compiled From Wire Reports
The U.S. financial markets were closed Tuesday and will remain closed on Wednesday after two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and a similar assault occurred in Washington in what President Bush called an apparent terrorist attack.
“The American Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq Stock Market and the New York Stock Exchange, after consultation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and in light of the heinous attack on America, have decided to remain closed through Wednesday, September 12,” the New York Stock Exchange said in a prepared statement.
“The U.S. markets, after further consultation with the SEC, will announce tomorrow when U.S. equities markets will reopen,” the statement concluded.
The bond market is also expected to be closed Wednesday, following a recommendation by the Bond Market Association to do so.
Earlier on Tuesday, SEC chairman had issued a statement regarding the closings. “As a safety precaution while the tragic events of today are sorted out, the securities markets have decided not to open for trading today. We strongly support that decision,” he said.
Many of the nation’s investment firms have at least some of their operations in the World Trade Center or surrounding buildings, possibily limiting their ability to restart quickly. And the New York Mercantile Exchange, where energy futures are traded, is located in the nearby World Financial Center.
Business and trading in other parts of the country also were affected. The Chicago Board of Trade also suspended all trading effective, 10:15 a.m.
Federal regulators of the U.S. financial markets, the Commodities Futures Trade Commission, have decided not to declare an emergency in response to an apparent terrorist attack because most U.S. stock and futures exchanges are already closed.
The Federal Reserve, seeking to provide assurances that the nation’s banking system will be protected following the terrorist attacks, said Tuesday it stood ready to provide additional money to banks if needed.
“The Federal Reserve System is open and operating. The discount window is available to meet liquidity needs,” the Fed said in a two-sentence statement.
The promise to supply additional money to the banking system was similar to a pledge that the Fed issued on the morning after the October 1987 stock market crash, when the market plunged by more than 500 points in one day of trading.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was out of the country attending a banking conference in Switzerland at the time of Tuesday’s attacks, a Fed official said.
In the aftermath of the blasts, investors reacted on the debt and commodity markets before those exchanges were closed. Crude oil in London surged to an eight-month high rising as much as $3.60, or 13.1 percent, to $31.05 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange, its biggest one-day gain since March 23, 1998. Oil last fetched more than $31 a barrel last Dec. 1. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries rose in a "knee-jerk panic," according to Banc One Capital Markets Inc. economist Anthony Karydakis. The 30-year bond rose 1 1/2, or $15 per $1,000 security, to 99 18/32, lowering yields 10 basis points to 5.34 percent.
Overseas, the London Stock Exchange evacuated its building but said trade will continue from an alternate site. Traders responded to devastating attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington by sending the market into a tailspin. By the close, the FTSE-100 stood a massive 287.70 points lower at 4,746.00. In France, the CAC is trading down about 8 percent or 330 points at 4059. The Toronto Stock Exchange ended its trading in mid-morning, and by the suspension, the TSE-300 index was down 295.90, or 4.03 percent, at 7048.80. Only the gold and oil and gas sectors were higher while the broader market slumped sharply.
Much of the downtown district, including the World Trade Center and the World Financial Center, was evacuated. It was also difficult to make phone calls to the downtown business district and throughout Manhattan.
Thousands of companies sent their employees home for the day, putting tens of thousands of New Yorkers into the streets after public transportation was shut down as a precautions against further attacks.
Around the country and world, the investment community was focused on the fate of people working in the World Trade Center affected by the apparent terrorist attacks. There were reports of people jumping out of buildings.
“I’m just worried about people who are there,” said Robert Harrington, head of listed block trading at UBS Warburg’s office in Connecticut.
Several top financial services firms have offices in the World Trade Center, including Morgan Stanley, Switzerland’s Credit Suisse Group and Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank AG. Market data firm Thomson Financial and Bank of America also have offices in the complex. Morgan Stanley, which employed 3,500 people in 50 floors of the north and south towers, has released this emergency number for family members: (888) 883-4391.
Citigroup said it managed to evacuate its workers in the plaza level of the World Trade Center, and in nearby buildings.
Credit Suisse First Boston said its staffers were evacuated. Other companies with offices in the towers include Lehman Brothers.
Deutsche Bank spokesman Detlev Rahmsdorf said the company believes that its employees in the buildings, who number more than 300 people, were also evacuated.
Charles Schwab Corp., which is based in San Francisco, has a branch in the World Trade Center, but its employees seemed to get out of the building after the first plane crash, spokesman Glen Mathison told Reuters.
“We are hopeful all of our employees in our Wall Street and Tower offices are fine,” Mathison said. Not all of the workers have been accounted for, he said, because it has been hard to get through on the phone. Telecommunications service providers have said their networks remain open but are clogged with calls.
Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of Britain’s Barclays Plc evacuated its downtown Manhattan offices located less than a mile from the World Trade Center, according to a company spokesman.