The New York Stock Exchange reopened for the first time this morning after being closed for two consecutive days. It was the first time the stock exchange had closed for weather reasons since 1888. During the storm, while the NYSE was shut down, trading continued on backup trading floors housed in many major Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
Before the markets reopened this morning, speculation abounded as to what trading impact might result from the superstorm. Shaky infrastructure could lead to power outages or connectivity loss resulting in millions of dollars in lost trading. The potential for chaos is high considering the amount of uncertainty associated with a natural disaster. Many traders still don’t have Internet connectivity and are unsure how to react to the reopening, since the NYSE hasn’t shut down since 9/11.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand to ring the opening bell at 9:30 AM this morning and business continued as usual. Despite much of Manhattan being still without power, the NYSE is running on backup generators after testing their systems yesterday. The NYSE’s seemingly short downtime is mainly due to very little, if any, damage caused by the storm.
Thus far, today’s trading has been relatively smooth. The NYSE has had no outages and the Dow Jones was down by about nine points at midday. Home repair corporations like Home Depot, however, are expected to see a stock jump due to Hurricane Sandy, as are insurance companies like State Farm.
Barring any major power outages or massive Internet connectivity problems, it is likely that trading will continue as usual. Nearly 2 million New Yorkers are still without power and some of the city remains underwater. Estimates of the storm’s damage reach up to $20 billion and possibly $30 billion in lost business, but there is little evidence concerning Sandy’s effect on the market or the economy as a whole.