US markets closed until at least Friday

As a consequence of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks on the United States, both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq will remain closed Thursday, each announced with statements on their respective Web sites.

The Nasdaq announcement gave no indication of when the market will resume trading, but said that it will consult with member firms, market centers and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees and regulates markets, to determine when it will reopen. Investors will be notified of those plans on its Website, the announcement said.

The NYSE will resume trading no later than Monday and possibly as soon as Friday, its announcement said. Information regarding the resumption of trading will be provided at the exchange’s Website.

The NYSE is located at 11 Wall St., three blocks from the World Trade Center complex, where the 110-story “Twin Towers” collapsed Tuesday after being hit by two hijacked airliners. The NYSE has closed several times in the past, including for 10 days after stock prices plunged on “Black Thursday,” Oct. 24, 1929, followed five days later by a collapse of the market and what came to be viewed as the start of the Great Depression.

The longest closure lasted four-and-a-half months in 1914, when global securities exchanges suspended training to stop plunging prices during World War I, according to a timeline on the exchange’s Web site.

The NYSE, which was formed by New York brokers in 1817 and called the New York Stock & Exchange Board, closed in 1873 for 10 days when national financial panic ensued after Jay Cook & Co., a Philadelphia banking firm, failed due to railroad stock speculation. The exchange was closed on Aug. 15 and 16 in 1945 when U.S. troops returned from World War II and V-J Day (the surrender of Japan) was celebrated. To avoid panic selling, the exchange temporarily halted trading in November 1963 after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq, which has not been closed for catastrophe before, made its New York headquarters at 0ne Liberty Plaza across the street from the World Trade Center Complex. News reports said that building is in peril of collapse, but the head of the property management company that operates the building denied any structural problems in an interview Wednesday night with CNN and Nasdaq issued a statement that it has “no evidence that the building will collapse.”

About 127 Nasdaq employees, or 10 percent of the exchange’s total, worked at that site on three floors of the building, the Nasdaq said. All were safely evacuated Tuesday. The market, which lists 4,300 companies and is the most active trading market in the U.S., operates electronically and has primary and back-up data centers outside of New York. If One Liberty Plaza, also called the U.S. Steel Building, does fall that would not affect Nasdaq, the market said.

Nasdaq opened in 1971 and surpassed the NYSE in annual share volume in 1994, becoming the largest U.S. market by dollar volume in 1999, according to the exchange’s Web site.

“The American capital markets are sound. Nasdaq will be open,” says a statement from CEO Hardwick Simmons on the Website.

While Nasdaq and the NYSE will remain closed Thursday, U.S. government securities trading will resume at 8 a.m. Thursday, Eastern Standard Time, U.S. Treasury Department officials announced Wednesday. The New York Mercantile Exchange, with headquarters in the World Financial Center near the World Trade Center complex, has not announced when it will reopen, neither has the American Stock Exchange. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which trades equity index options, and the Chicago Board of Trade, which handles commodity futures, both will resume trading Thursday, they announced.

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