Wall Street Aghast at Tragedy
Major U.S. markets were closed for the day, including the NYSE and Nasdaq and major commodities markets.
Many Wall Street employees and firms were immediately concerned with the task of locating and verifying the safety of friends and family.
"This [attack] is disgusting," wrote one Wall Street executive to a Light Reading editor via instant messenger. "We have an office downtown and I don't even know if it's still there."
Many major financial firms were based in or had offices in the World Trade Center, including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MER) and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.. A Reuters report said Morgan Stanley was the largest tenant, leasing about 25 floors of the World Trade Center occupied.
Morgan Stanley issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
"The towers of the World Trade Center have collapsed following a series of explosions. The south tower was the headquarters for Morgan Stanley's retail businesses.
"We have no information beyond what has been reported in the news. The safety and well-being of Morgan Stanley employees are paramount at this time. We are working with local authorities, and we will keep you apprised of developments on Morgan Stanley Today and Morgan Stanley Connection as we receive information.
Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Harvey L. Pitt issued the following statement:
"The Commission has been, and is, in constant communication with each of our organized securities markets and exchanges. As a safety precaution while the tragic events of today are sorted out, the securities markets have decided not to open for trading today. We strongly support that decision; it is a responsible course of action in light of the current situation. We are continuing to monitor the situation, along with the securities markets, and investors should be assured that the disruption to normal trading patterns is a temporary phenomenon; trading will resume as soon as it is practicable to do so. We will keep the public advised."
Earlier today, stocks plunged on the London Stock Exchange on news of the catastrophe. The FT-SE 100 index dropped 287.7 points, or 5.72 percent, closing at 4746.00, the lowest since October 1998.
-Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com staff