* New York mass transit system to close at 7 p.m. Sunday
* NYSE and Nasdaq plan to open for trading Monday
* Flooding, power outages are top risks as hurricane nears
By John McCrank and David Gaffen
NEW YORK, Oct 28 New York-based stock exchanges
are sending officials into Manhattan on Sunday to stay in hotels
and coworkers' homes as the NYSE and Nasdaq prepare to open for
business on Monday, even as Hurricane Sandy closes off public
Hurricane Sandy is expected to slam into the East Coast on
Monday night, bringing torrential rains, high winds, severe
flooding and power outages, forecasters said. The rare "super
storm," created by an Arctic jetstream wrapping itself around a
tropical storm, could be the biggest to hit the U.S. mainland.
New York's subway, bus and rail systems will suspend service
by 7 p.m. EDT on Sunday (2300 GMT), Governor Andrew Cuomo said,
which means there will be no public transportation into or
within the city. About 8.5 million commuters use the
Metropolitan Transit Authority's rail, bus and subway lines
A spokesman for NYSE Euronext said after the Cuomo
announcement that the New York Stock Exchange was monitoring the
situation but still planned to open for trading on Monday. A
spokesman for Nasdaq OMX Group referred Reuters'
inquiry to a previous statement that said the Nasdaq would open
for trading as normal on Monday.
The New York Stock Exchange has arranged accommodations for
essential staff near its lower-Manhattan headquarters, while
other employees have been encouraged to work from home or
alternate locations, said a person familiar with the situation.
The major exchanges and most big trading firms have
alternate trading facilities if downtown New York is
inaccessible, but the storm's wide path may affect a number of
sites in the New York metropolitan area. Authorities have warned
of possible widespread power outages that could last for days.
"Preparations are in place for our U.S. markets to operate
normally on Monday. If conditions change, notifications will be
posted," the New York Stock Exchange said in a statement on its
NYSE has a backup power generator and said that should it
have to shut down floor trading at 11 Wall Street, all
NYSE-listed securities would trade on NYSE Arca, the company's
fully electronic exchange. NYSE's servers are located in Mahwah,
New Jersey, while Nasdaq has servers in Carteret, New Jersey.
Nasdaq OMX also said it has plans in place to ensure markets
operate normally on Monday and Tuesday.
Both exchanges are in close contact with trading firms and
regulators, which include the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
(FINRA), about the potential impact of the storm, said people
with knowledge of the plans.
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
said it has not made any recommendations to close on Monday.
"SIFMA is currently monitoring the storm's projected path
and we are in contact with public authorities and our members as
we assess the possible impact of the storm to the financial
services sector within the NYC area," SIFMA spokeswoman Katrina
Cavalli said on Sunday morning in an e-mailed statement.
One of New York's largest financial employers, Citigroup Inc
, said it has contingency plans, including using
alternative work locations, to keep its operations going. The
bank has about 24,000 people working in New York City.
Trading volumes are likely to be lighter than usual, but as
most operations now are handled electronically, it remains to be
seen whether there will be an interruption. The NYSE has not had
to delay the open for a weather-related issue since a blizzard
hit the New York area in January 1996.
Some financial industry events have been postponed. The
SIFMA Internal Auditors Society Annual Conference scheduled for
Monday and Tuesday in New York has been delayed to December.
Sandy's storm surge has the potential to flood New York
city's subway system if the storm arrives at or near Monday
evening's high tide around 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT), according to
hurricane specialist Jeff Masters, who writes a Weather
Monday is also a full moon, which creates an extra-high
In August 2011, officials feared Hurricane Irene would flood
lower Manhattan and cripple business in the world's financial
capital. Wall Street firms activated their contingency plans and
New York City ordered evacuations in lower Manhattan and shut
down its mass transit system on a Saturday night in anticipation
of the storm. But the flooding was minor and there were no major
disruptions at the exchanges.
Before the storm passed, however, NYSE officials said while
they planned to open, the final decision hinged on whether city
subways were running and whether New York Harbor waters flooded
low-lying downtown. Flooding is one of the more likely
worst-case scenarios that forecasters see as Sandy pushes water
onto land Monday evening.