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‘Good for country’: Stock market reopens

Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks traders before ringing opening bell New York Stock Exchange New York Wednesday Oct. 31 2012. Traffic

Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks to traders before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Traffic is snarled, subways out of commission, streets flooded and power out in many parts of the city, but the New York Stock Exchange opened without hitch Wednesday after an historic two-day shutdown, courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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Updated: December 2, 2012 2:18PM

NEW YORK — Wall Street is back in business.

Traffic is snarled, streets flooded, subways idle and power out in many parts of Manhattan and beyond, but the New York Stock Exchange opened trading without a hitch Wednesday after a historic two-day shutdown caused by Superstorm Sandy.

At 9:30 a.m., right on schedule, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rang the opening bell, then gave a hopeful thumbs-up. Cheers rose from traders on the trading floor below, falsely rumored to be flooded, but dry Wednesday morning, and festive.

“It’s good for the city, good for country, it’s good for everyone to get back to work,” the mayor told CNBC moments later while leaving the exchange building at 11 Wall Street.

The stakes were high for trading to resume.

Wall Street traders and strategists were worried that a third day of delay would have meant more pent-up demand from customers to buy and sell stocks, resulting in a surge of orders that could send the market on a wild ride.

But trading was placid from the start Wednesday, and much of the worry ebbed away.

“I’ve lived through a lot of events — crashes, mini-crashes, events of Mother Nature, man-made events, terrible events like 9/11,” said Ted Weisberg, president of Seaport Securities, 72, shortly after the opening bell. “Somehow or other the markets continue.”

The last time the exchange closed for two consecutive days because of weather was during the Blizzard of 1888 .

With power out in much of downtown Manhattan, the NYSE building Wednesday was an isolated hub of activity in a largely deserted and darkened neighborhood. The company that runs the exchange, NYSE Euronext, used backup generators to power its operations.

The Dow Jones industrial average gave up an early gain and wound up closing down just 10.75 points, at 13,096.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged down 0.22 point at 1,412.16, and the Nasdaq composite lost 10.72 points to 2,977.23.


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