Markets Will Open on Monday
U.S. stock markets will remain closed for a fourth day on Friday and will resume trading Monday, according to New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso.
Grasso spoke after a meeting of exchange officials, securities firms and regulators at Credit Suisse First Boston's headquarters, in an impromptu press conference that was moved at the last minute from its previously announced location at Bear Stearns.
The markets have been closed since the Tuesday morning terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, making it the longest period of closure since World War I.
Officials at the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange will test their computer systems and telecommunications infrastructure on Saturday to be sure trading can proceed. The Verizon Communications Inc.'s (NYSE: VZ) telecom center in lower Manhattan and underground cables, most of which were relied on to supply communications to the NYSE, were badly damaged in the collapse of the World Trade Center (see Service Providers Persevere). If all goes well, markets will open Monday at 9:30 EDT.
Meanwhile, many Wall Street firms continue to ascertain the plight of many of their employees. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. announced that between 30 and 40 of its employees are still unaccounted for and may have lost their lives. So far, none of Morgan's employees are confirmed dead. Morgan had about 3,700 workers at No. 2 and No. 5 World Trade Center in the offices of the company's individual investor and asset management groups. The loss of fewer than 40 people out of 3,700 "is a near miracle," CEO Philip Purcell said in a statement.
Morgan Stanley is relocating many of the employees who formerly worked in the World Trade Center to sites in Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn. Purcell said the company's computer systems are operational and assets are safe. The firm will be open for business as the markets resume their operations.
Bank of America said that only eight of its more than 400 workers in the towers are still missing. On a sadder note, the investment banking firm of Sandler O'Neill & Partners, which occupied the 104th floor of Two World Trade Center, confirmed late Thursday that 67 of its 148 employees and two outside consultants are unaccounted for.
The four-day market closures should provide a cushion of time so that investors are less likely to panic and force prices to plunge. Although no one can predict how the US markets will behave Monday, other world indices were mixed Thursday. The United Kingdom's FTSE 100 closed Thursday up more than 1 percent, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index roughly broke even with a gain of 0.03 percent. And the Toronto Stock Exchange - the only North American exchange open -- was up just under 1 percent.
-- Staff at Light Reading