NEW YORK Wall Street is preparing to open for business as New York City slowly recovers from the wreckage of Superstorm Sandy.
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq both plan to resume trading Wednesday following the unprecedented storm that flooded many parts of Manhattan and prompted widespread power outages. The market closed for two days as Sandy battered the East Coast.
Its incredibly important to open these markets, said Miranda Mizen, director of equities research at TABB Group. It says New York is open for business.
The New York Stock Exchange is one of the worlds most identifiable symbols of capitalism, and its inability to operate is often viewed as a larger statement on stability of U.S. stock markets and the economy.
It is rare for the stock markets to close operations for two days. The last time the New York Stock Exchange did so for weather-related reasons was 1888.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances we will be open, said Larry Leibowitz, the chief operating officer of the NYSE Euronext, the parent of the Big Board. We all see the need to get the exchange working as quickly as we can.
Florescent lights were visible at midday Tuesday on upper floors of the NYSE building. Water had receded from the financial district. Tourists wearing sneakers took pictures amid groups of police, and residents walked their dogs around the neoclassic structure, opened in 1903.
We fully plan to be up and running tomorrow, Leibowitz said. Theres no damage to the physical plant. Were running off our generators.
Brokers and trading firms may experience spotty connectivity problems, Leibowitz said. He predicted some firms may have trouble finding fuel if they are running from backup or using generators.
NYSE plans to operate the floor with at least 100 people including designated market makers and other personnel, Leibowitz said. All NYSE-listed companies will be represented by their market makers, though the firms may not be fully staffed, he said.
The NYSE began testing for a backup plan that would have been necessary had storm damage prevented it from reopening the floor Wednesday. Had that been the case, NYSE Arca, its electronic market, would be deemed the primary market for NYSE-listed stocks and the Big Board wouldnt have operated.
The NYSEs reputation will suffer because of the two-day shutdown, said Arthur Levitt, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
People look to the New York Stock Exchange as being the symbol of American capitalism, and to see the exchange go down for two days without an adequate backup plan is very, very unfortunate, Levitt said on a Bloomberg Radio interview. To see the New York Stock Exchange crippled is a body blow that will really shake the image of that institution for a long time to come.
The view is disappointing, said Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext.
Obviously Arthur has been involved in the industry for a long time but is maybe a little out of date with the facts, he said. We had a contingency plan. It was approved by the SEC in 09. It was communicated to everyone in 10 and tested earlier this year, and the industry simply preferred that we not implement that plan on Monday and Tuesday.
The SEC has been in consultation with the markets throughout the storm and supports the decision to reopen, John Nester, an SEC spokesman, said in an email. Bloomberg News contributed.