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NYSE boss gives go-ahead for Monday trading

The NYSE emerged unscathed from the attacks Keystone

The New York Stock Exchange is to re-open on Monday as planned, after its computer and communications systems were given the all clear following a series of tests. The exchange has been closed since Tuesday - the longest shutdown since the 1929 crash.

The NYSE chairman, chairman Richard Grasso, gave the green light for trading to resume on Monday, saying “systems are all go”.

The markets were closed for four days after two jetliners hijacked by terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and forced the shutdown of the city’s financial district.

Grasso said the exchange would observe two minutes of silence before the start of trading to remember the thousands of people believed killed in the trade center attack and another assault on the Pentagon.

The NYSE, located about five blocks from the trade center, was not physically damaged in the attack, but a local telephone switching operation was disrupted, severing some of the communications systems used in trading. Offices of a number of investment firms were either destroyed or damaged, forcing many to relocate some of their operations.

Badly damaged

The American Stock Exchange, which was located closer to the World Trade Center site than the NYSE, was badly damaged and its trading floor was not usable. Its operations are expected to be temporarily relocated to the NYSE and other regional markets, said Amex spokesman, Bob Rendine.

According to Grasso, the investment firms said last Wednesday that they were in a position to resume trading, but agreed to wait while the rescue operation was underway.

Grasso said most investment firms were now able to link with the exchange, and that by Monday, there should be “some connectivity to everyone who does business”.

“I’m very confident that even those who sustained significant losses will be in some part back in business Monday morning,” he said.

Losses of $400 billion

The closure of the exchange has cost upwards of $400 billion, according to the Securities Industry Association, which says US trading is worth about $100 billion a day.

It is not yet clear how many of the thousands of people employed at the NYSE and nearby financial firms will get to work, with travelling still curtailed around Wall Street and parts of downtown Manhattan.

“We are very confident that whatever the number of people required … they will gain access via public transit,” Grasso said. But he asked NYSE employees to arrive earlier than usual “because as you might expect, security is going to be significantly tightened on Monday”.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR