Hurricane Sandy hasn’t yet touched down on New York City but it’s already affecting global markets.
World share and commodity prices fell, but as Reuters points out, that has as much to do with a recent run of “downbeat” corporate earnings.
Crude oil prices slipped as refineries along the US’s east coast began winding down operations; the second-largest plant in the US is in New Jersey. The CME Group, which operates the New York Mercantile Exchange, suspended floor trading Monday, joining the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq in their closure of all equity trading on all U.S. markets. Bond markets are open but will close at noon.
Trading is expected to be light and bearish this week as investors keep an eye on storm damage, business impact, and another dose of uncertainty: Who will win the US election.
Indeed, Wall Street’s famous bull statue has spent the morning lit up by emergency response vehicles. Among the Wall Street firms affected and planning to rely heavier on operations outside New York: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Citi’s main U.S.-based trading floor is included within New York City’s mandatory evacuation zone, and so workers won’t be able to enter their offices. Citibank also sent a letter to customers offering to waive fees if customers needed to access cash during the storm.
Goldman Sachs, whose office is also within the evacuation area, told staff that most of them will work from home. Goldman Sachs chief administrative officer Jeffrey Schroeder wrote in the memo: “Given the potential severity of Hurricane Sandy, we have activated our business continuity plans.”
New York City employees had no such luck. Their boss, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, shut down mass transit as of 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 and closed government schools, but vowed that the city was still open for business. “City employees should make every effort to report to their jobs on Monday morning,” the city’s official website says.
How they will get there and who will watch their kids is anyone’s guess.