Yes, it’s been that long.
On Monday, shortly after midday, the New York Stock Exchange announced that it would close stock trading for a second day Tuesday because of a once-in-a-century storm. Once in a 124-year storm is more apt. The last time trading was halted for two consecutive days because of weather was in 1888.
This time, instead of snow drifts 40 feet high, surging water threatens to crest between 6 and 11 feet. And instead of the Blizzard of 1888, it is the more benign sounding, but equally disruptive, Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s a monumental event, and we take it very seriously,” said Larry Leibowitz, chief operating officer of NYSE Euronext, the company that operates the New York Stock Exchange. “It’s not a hyped-up drama.”
Leibowitz spoke shortly after 2 p.m. following a series of conference calls with stock brokerage firms, regulators and officials during which a “consensus” emerged to close markets for a second day. As for Wednesday, he said he “fully hopes” the exchange would open.
Nasdaq, another major stock exchange, said it was optimistic, too.
As the storm approached Monday, water cascaded over seawalls in lower Manhattan and a highway running along the island’s East Side nearby was flooded in parts.
Inside the exchange, the lights were ablaze early Monday but, aside from security workers, few humans were present.