New York blizzard won’t close US markets... but these seven events that weren't snowstorms did

 
Lynsey Barber
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New York is bracing itself for snowstorms (Source: Reuters)

A huge blizzard hitting the east coast of the US and New York City isn't closing down US markets and it remains business as usual on Wall Street.

The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and other exchanges are expected to open as normal as New Yorkers prepare to be hit with up to three feet of snow and freezing temperatures which could cause significant travel disruption and power cuts.

Despite the storm’s potential to be one of the worst in history, traders expecting a snow day will be disappointed, as thanks to the internet, there’s always home working.

If what some have been calling the biggest blizzard ever doesn’t shut down Wall Street, then what does? Computer glitches, paperwork problems, blackouts, war and assassinations, as well as the odd hurricane.

1.

A blizzard, no, but a hurricane, yes. The last time US markets closed was in the midst of the devastating hurricane Sandy in 2012. That was the longest shutdown due to storms in more than 100 years. In 1888 a blizzard caused a two-day shutdown of the New York Stock Exchange. Hurricane Gloria in 1985 also shuttered the trading floors.

2.

1933 saw a seven-, yes seven-, day shutdown of the markets as President Roosevelt proclaimed a week-long bank holiday after a month-long run on banks. It succeeded in returning confidence in the markets. Also in the same year, the New York Stock Exchange closed early because of gas fumes on the trading floor. Make up your own jokes with that one.

3.

A two-day mid-week break was taken when the end of the second world war was declared in August 1945. Throughout the cold war era of the 1950s and 60s, hour-long shutdowns were a near yearly occurrence for civil defense drills to take place.

4.

At 2.07pm on a Friday in 1963, the assassination of John Kennedy caused the New York Stock Exchange to close. The attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981 also closed the floor early.

5.

Back in 1967, a two-week long early close of 2pm was instigated due to “back office workload” according to the NYSE. A year later, for six months traders worked a four-day week because of a paperwork crisis. This unspecified paperwork crisis reared its head a few more times in the 1960s.

6.

Into the 1970s, however, it was the computers causing trouble. Glitches such as computer failure, ticker down, Merrill Lynch having computer trouble and a computer stopping are just some of the reasons for trading being halted by the New York Exchange.

7.

In 1977 a massive blackout across New York City shuttered trading floors for the day.

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