Wall Street gets back to business

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday after a two-day shut down.
Dario Cantatore/NYSE Euronext via Reuters
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday after a two-day shut down.

NEW YORK — The major stock ­indexes ended little changed in light trading Wednesday as the market ­reopened after a two-day shutdown caused by Hurricane Sandy.

A bevy of television news crews and camera-toting tourists thronged the New York Stock Exchange for the opening, but the trading floor betrayed little that was unusual.

A small crowd enveloped Mayor ­Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City as he briefly stepped onto the floor to greet exchange workers. He later took to the balcony overlooking the pits to ring the opening bell, flanked by Duncan L. Niederauer, the chief executive of NYSE Euronext, and Robert Steel, a deputy mayor.


As the familiar clang rang through the hall for the first time this week, a small cheer erupted from the floor.

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The dozen staff members at ‘‘the ramp,’’ an important NYSE nerve center on the floor, scanned a wall of monitors to check on market activity.

Milling about the floor was Lawrence E. Leibowitz, NYSE Euronext’s chief operating officer, checking on the state of operations. It was his second straight day at the exchange, having slept there overnight after wading from his home to Wall Street.

“There have been very few, very isolated problems,’’ Leibowitz said. He pointed to blank monitors that were shut off because the data provider was delivering incorrect market data.

‘‘If that’s the worst of our problems,’ he added, ‘‘we’re in good shape.’’


Niederauer seemed pleased as well. Wednesday was his first day back at the exchange since last week, having worked remotely because he could not get into the city.

“We’re pleased to see the turnout of staff,’’ he said, with many market-makers being nearly fully represented.

He said many technical issues had been resolved, although technicians from Verizon were on hand to patch spotty communications and network connections. Many trading firms resorted to sharing working Internet and phone lines, while specialists ducked outside to get cellphone service unavailable on the floor.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day down 10.75 points, or 0.08 percent, at 13,096.46. The Nasdaq composite index closed down 10.72 points, or 0.36 percent, at 2,977.23. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, meanwhile, ended fractionally higher.

Jonathan D. Corpina, a senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners, came armed with a flashlight to navigate the ­darkened streets of Lower Manhattan. But he found it easy to find the exchange, which was illuminated thanks to backup generators.


“We’re here filling orders, and it’s business as usual,’’ he said.

Richard drew/Associated Press
Sandbags protected the entrance of the exchange during the storm.

Traders were treated to a free breakfast on the floor of the Big Board and a free lunch in the cafeteria. The NYSE also dispatched 20 cars Tuesday to ensure everyone who needed to get in could get in.

Some traders improvised following the disaster.

Many stood outside the exchange’s doors Wednesday because they were having trouble getting cellphone service on the floor.

At least one firm, however, had operations affected by the storm. Knight Capital Group sustained a power disruption at its headquarters in Jersey City, N.J., on Wednesday and told clients to route their orders elsewhere, a spokeswoman for the trading firm confirmed.

It was the first time that the trading firm had run into significant problems since it was rescued by a group of investors in August.