Market Happenings for Monday, December 26, 2011

Markets are closed today for the Christmas holiday, but did you know…

That apart from scheduled holidays, market officials only close the markets under special circumstances, such as severe weather or national emergencies. A few notable examples from NYSE’s past include:

Lincoln Assassination: The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 caused the first extended closure of the NYSE – the exchange remained shuttered for more than a week.

Washington Centennial: The market closed for three days in 1889 to mark the centennial of President George Washington’s inauguration.

Columbus Days: The NYSE also closed for three days in 1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World.

World Wars: The longest extended shutdown in NYSE history was in 1914, when it closed for more than four months, from August until December, because of World War I. The market did not close on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Pearl Harbor bombing, but did close for two days in August 1945 to mark the surrender of Japan.

Paper Crisis: Before the days of computer trading, all trades were handled with paper. By 1968, the daily volume had begun to overwhelm the back office employees, and they started to fall further and further behind each day. The solution was to close the NYSE every Wednesday for about six months, from June to December.

Moon Landing: The NYSE closed on July 21, 1969 to honor the first moon landing.

Panics: During the Panic of 1873, the Jay Cooke & Company bank failed, triggering a 10-day closure of the NYSE. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared a five-day bank holiday in 1933 that closed the markets. But the market did not close during the financial crisis in 2008.

Terrorist Attacks: The NYSE did not close following its first terrorist attack – the 1920 JP Morgan bombing, despite the fact 38 people were killed. But the market closed for four days after the devastating World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

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