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US markets go dark ahead of Hurricane Sandy

It seems not even the world’s largest stock market exchange can stand up to the ‘superstorm’. Stock and options exchanges and their regulators closed US markets yesterday, in the first marketwide shutdown since September 2001, as Wall Street braced for Hurricane Sandy’s approach.

The agreement, reached late on Sunday night, marked a reversal from an earlier call by the exchanges to remain open for business to electronic trading even as they shuttered their trading floors in advance of the storm.

By late Sunday, exchange officials, traders and regulators were expecting that markets may stay closed on Tuesday, too. Trading on the NYSE floor was suspended for four days after the September 11 attacks. It also was suspended on September 27, 1985, due to Hurricane Gloria, which caused an estimated $US1 billion in damage along the East Coast.

“To be quite frank, I didn’t think it was that tough a decision,” said Duncan L Niederauer, chief executive of NYSE Euronext, on the decision to close the trading floor. “I think it would have been irresponsible to keep the building open and insist that all our people be there.”

Election trouble
And it appears that the storm is slowing down the US election race. US President Barack Obama cancelled more campaign events to monitor Hurricane Sandy back in Washington. The latest political event to get scrapped as the storm heads to the East Coast was the president’s trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

HMS Bounty sinks at sea, two crew are still missing
The US Coast Guard yesterday rescued 14 of the 16 crew who abandoned the replica tall ship HMS Bounty while in the path of Hurricane Sandy off North Carolina, using helicopters to lift them from life rafts, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard continued to search for the two missing crew members about 260 km from the eye of the storm.

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