Markets to close Tuesday

Action is in observance of national day of mourning for Ford

December 30, 2006|By MarketWatch

WASHINGTON -- The Nasdaq stock market, the New York Stock Exchange and most other U.S. financial markets will close Tuesday in observance of a national day of mourning for former President Gerald Ford.

The closing delays the start of 2007 trading by one day and will mark the longest closing of major U.S. stock markets since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Federal Reserve and most U.S. government offices will also close in honor of the former president, who died Tuesday at age 93. The bond market will close at 2 p.m.

"President Ford was a historic American president and a notable businessman, who served on the NASD board from 1999 to 2000, during a critical time for the Nasdaq stock market," Bob Greifeld, Nasdaq's president and chief executive, said.

Memorial messages will be broadcast on the Nasdaq Tower throughout the day.

Wall Street's closing on the day of a national funeral dates back to the burial of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1885. However, the NYSE has sometimes traded on a shortened schedule during a presidential funeral - the last time, for Herbert Hoover's funeral in 1964.

There was some speculation the exchanges, uneasy about closing for four straight days including the weekend, would try to have at least some stock trading on Tuesday.

One of the concerns is that U.S. investors would be unable to execute trades following market-moving political events in other countries.

NYSE Group Inc. said yesterday that both the New York Stock Exchange and its NYSE Arca operations will be closed Tuesday.

"My NYSE Group colleagues and I join all Americans in mourning the loss of President Ford, a man of great integrity and vision, and a dedicated public servant," said John Thain, the CEO of NYSE Group. "It is appropriate that we honor President Ford and celebrate the life of a truly great American."

Additionally, the American Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the CBOE Futures Exchange will be closed Tuesday.

President Bush declared the day of mourning for Ford, who served from 1974 to 1977. Ford's state funeral will be conducted Saturday in the Capitol Rotunda, with a second funeral Tuesday at the National Cathedral.

The markets will also be closed Monday in observance of New Year's Day.

The markets were closed in September 2001 for six consecutive days.

The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's Dec. 12 meeting will be released Wednesday instead of Tuesday as originally scheduled. While the Board of Governors of the Fed in Washington will be closed Tuesday, the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks will operate and provide all usual financial services.

Closing times for the 13-week and 26-week Treasury-bill auctions scheduled for Tuesday are being moved up in honor of the day of mourning for Ford, the Treasury Department said Friday. The auction for the 13-week bill will close at 11 a.m. and the auction for the 26-week bill will close at 11:30 a.m., the Treasury Department said.

The release of the Institute for Supply Management's index of factory activity also was pushed forward to Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern from Tuesday.

The New York Mercantile Exchange said it will close its trading floor, but electronic trading would be open. Banks are generally expected to be open.

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