Financial markets won't open today

Stock prices plunge overseas

those of gold and oil surge

Terrorism Strikes America

Impact On Business

September 12, 2001|By Eileen Ambrose | Eileen Ambrose,SUN STAFF

U.S financial markets will remain closed for the second day in a row today after the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City and damaged the Pentagon.

"The American Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq Stock Market and the New York Stock Exchange, after consultation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and in light of the heinous attack on America, have decided to remain closed through Wednesday, Sept. 12," the New York Stock Exchange said in a statement.

Market experts had expected the major exchanges to remain shut because it was unclear what systems were functioning after the assault in the nation's financial center. Also, the World Trade Center was home to some of the top investment companies, including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., which was the destroyed buildings' largest tenant.

When trading is resumed, it is likely to be for a partial day, experts said.

"It will be difficult, it seems, to get things back up and running this week," said Mario DeRose, a market strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis.

Market experts don't expect the exchanges to remain closed for long.

"The New York Stock Exchange and all the financial people are going to want to get this thing open as soon as possible. The longer they wait, the more credence it gives to what just happened," said Angel Mata, senior vice president at Legg Mason Inc. in Baltimore.

The attacks sent stock prices down sharply overseas and gold and oil prices surging.

The FTSE 100 index of British blue chip shares closed down 5.7 percent. The Deutsche Boerse's Xetra DAX index of leading German shares plummeted 8.5 percent, and the Paris Stock Exchange's CAC 40 index tumbled 7.4 percent.

Latin America's three largest stock markets all plunged before trading was suspended. Brazil's Bovespa stock index sank 9.18 percent to a 23-month low, Mexico's IPC index fell 5.55 percent, and in Buenos Aires, the Argentinian Merval index lost 5.17 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's key TSE 300 composite index fell to a 4 1/2 -year low, plunging 295.90 points, or 4.03 percent, before trading was suspended.

The secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said the group "will do everything possible to help maintain stable prices after oil prices jumped more than $3 a gallon. The benchmark North Sea Brent Futures surged $3.60, to $31.05 a barrel, before closing at $29 a barrel for the day. The surge appeared to be the biggest one-day change in prices since the Persian Gulf crisis in 1990-1991.

The price of gold, which many investors consider a haven during crises, posted its biggest gain in two years. Gold for immediate delivery rose $14.70, or 5.4 percent, to $286.25 an ounce in late London trading, the biggest one-day gain since Sept. 28, 1999. Spot gold rose as high as $292.50, the highest price since May 21.

The dollar tumbled 1.9 percent against the euro, its biggest decline since April 3, and 1.5 percent against the Japanese yen.

Many financial experts expect stock prices to fall when the U.S. markets reopen, and some are trying to calm jittery investors.

"The sooner you open, the more emotion you will have. You really need thoughtful, careful, rational decisions at this time," said Andy Brooks, head of equity trading at T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. in Baltimore.

Wire services contributed to this article.

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