News Column

Financial Planners Adjust to Rare NYSE Closing

October 29, 2012

Kevin Allenspach, St. Cloud Times, Minn.

Central Minnesota is about a thousand miles removed from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, but local investors felt it Monday just as though they were on Wall Street as the New York Stock Exchange closed for the first time since 9/11. The markets also will be closed Tuesday, leaving some in the financial world in an unwelcome holding pattern.

Brad Wheelock is a St. Cloud-based senior vice president and senior portfolio manager with RBC Wealth Management. He said, for most investors, the closing of the markets will be like an unintended holiday.

"The big impediment that I see right now is liquidity," Wheelock said. "If you were trying to raise cash for a large purchase or you were trying to tie some investments to a draw schedule for some project or event, you'd have a tough time with that. I've been doing this for 25 years and it's extremely rare for the market to close for multiple days. 9/11 is the only other example I can think of that would be of greater magnitude."

This will be the NYSE's first weather-related consecutive-day closing since 1888, when a blizzard left drifts of snow as high as 40 feet in New York.

Wheelock said there would be the possibility for some traders to buy or sell on the over-the-counter market while the stock market is closed, but that is "not a perfect system" and would be a "worst-case scenario" for anyone trying to raise money.

Mike Karl, a senior vice president of investments with UBS in St. Cloud, said his offices were open for business Monday and will be again today, though he likely won't be able to execute orders until at least Wednesday.

"The local impact is negative in the sense that people assume the markets are always going to be open," said Karl, who has more than 30 years experience in the industry. "It's an inconvenience. What's unique about it is we've had time to plan for it. People saw this coming for several days, so I began hearing from people over the weekend about what they want to do as soon as they're able. The markets will adjust. You already saw a weakness in insurance stocks leading up to this. There might be some additional spillover into other industries. We'll have to see. No one likes to see the stock market closed."

Dozens of companies postponed release of earnings reports scheduled for early this week. The last time the NYSE closed for a weather event was in 1985, when Hurricane Gloria hit the East Coast.

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: (c)2012 the St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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