-By Warner Todd Huston
“I don’t freak out about anything,” New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) CEO Duncan Niederauer told Fox Business Network on Wednesday. Rest assured, he consoled viewers, the trading floor is up and running.
Investors were a bit jittery about how Hurricane Sandy might have affected Wall Street trading, but Niederauer was quick to ally those fears. The big question post Sandy was if electronic connectivity would be a problem, but Niederauer reported that the problems were quickly solved. The NYSE boss told Fox Business Network, “that’s all working smoothly. We’ve got over 100 million shares of volume already so I think we are moving along pretty good.”
Niederauer said that there were a few early problems, and “the very small part of the orders we get from inside of the building, we had issues with phone connectivity and internet service this morning. We gave them their own phone lines so they could get incoming calls and make outgoing calls. Latest I am hearing is it’s not a problem so no, no one was freaking out. Don’t worry.”
The opening of the day went well, he thought. “Everything opened pretty quickly it’s been a very smooth market opening. As you can see we are pretty much fully staffed down here. So everything went really smoothly, Volume seems to be pretty good, market is up about half a percent. So, so far so good.”
Of course, some folks wondered if the Stock Exchange should have stayed opened early this week, but Niederauer disputed that idea and felt they made the right choice.
“We could have. I think it would have been irresponsible in the light of what we know. We certainly could have operated electronically, and what the industry clearly told us on Sunday was please don’t open electronically cause we are going to have to put a lot of our people in harm’s way. So let’s not do that. Do I wish the industry and we came to a decision earlier on Sunday, sure, but we all made the right decision. It would have been irresponsible and dangerous to be open Monday and Tuesday.”
Niederauer also give a big reason why they decided not to open trading.
“I think more about human safety, first and foremost. I don’t think the market would have operated fluidly. But that’s neither here nor there. What the industry was saying was guys, even if you think you are running from Chicago, we still have to send people into work in the metropolitan New York area and we don’t want to do that please don’t make us do that. And you know, they were right. So I think the industry made the right decision. So we are here today. We’ll be here tomorrow and Friday. And we should have the building back on regular power, but even if we don’t the generator is fine.”
CME Group Executive Terry Duffy agreed that staying closed during the day was a good move. He told Fox Business Network that it was the right move to put human life ahead of the markets.
We were open in overnight session as you know but we were not open during the day. I think why it was necessary because of the catastrophic event we saw in New York. This is not something we see every day. So when you cannot put human life ahead of the markets. I think that’s what most important here, and people did not have access to get to the marketplace in order to trade even electronically, so even though you can trade automated, you still need to have people man those systems. And that is what’s critically important also.
In any case, the markets are up and running smoothly now. It looks like the whole crises was well handled.