Investors are very much used to the New York Stock Exchange closing on weekends and on market holidays, but sometimes the stock market will be forced to close unexpectedly. There have been hundreds of NYSE closings over the years, but there are a few that stand out from the rest. Below are seven of the most well known market closings.
World War I: July 30, 1914
Following conflicts that began in June 1914, the NYSE closed due to the pending world war. The NYSE closed on July 30, 1914 and did not re-open until December 12, 1914. On the final day of trading, the Dow was down 6.90%.
The bond markets re-opened in November, but stocks could not be traded until December 12. When the stock market re-opened, the Dow surged 4.00%.
Parade for Charles Lindbergh: June 13, 1927
The NYSE closed on June 13, 1927 to honor Charles Lindbergh for his award winning flight from New York City to Paris that took place on May 20. This flight made Lindbergh the first person to ever fly across the Atlantic.
In honor of this revolutionary flight, 4 million people flocked to New York City for an enormous parade. The day after the parade, the Dow 30 was up 1.00%.
The Death of JFK: November 22, 1963
On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, TX. After the shooting, the Dow fell 2.90%, but the NYSE was closed shortly after at 2:07 p.m.
On November 25, 1963 the NYSE was closed again to acknowledge the funeral of the President. When the market re-opened the following the day, the Dow 30 surged 4.50% – erasing the losses from the previous days [see also The Ten Commandments of Dividend Investing].
Paperwork Crisis: 1968
In the late 1960s, the volume of trading activity increased dramatically. With the drastic increase in volume, the NYSE had $4 billion in unprocessed transactions by 1968. To catch up, the exchange closed every Wednesday from June 12, 1968 to December 31, 1968.
During this crisis, over 100 brokers failed due to the high volume of transaction that could not be processed.
Apollo 11 Lands on Moon: July 21, 1969
On July 20, 1969 the Apollo 2 was the first spacecraft to put humans on the moon. In this mission, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first to ever walk on the moon. In honor of this event, President Nixon decided to give the entire country a day off on July 22, 1969 – closing the NYSE.
When the market re-opened the following day, the Dow dipped 1.94%.
September 11th Attacks: September 11, 2001
By 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001, two planes had already crashed into the twin towers before the 9:30 a.m. opening bell. As a result of the terrorist attack, the markets never opened that day. The markets did not re-open until September 17, 2001 at 9:33 a.m. – two minutes late to observe a two-minute moment of silence. On the day of the market re-open, the Dow sank 7.10%. This event was the final push into the early 2000s recession.
One year later, the NYSE had a delayed opening at 12 p.m. to respect memorial events in New York City.
Hurricane Sandy: October 29-30, 2012
On October 29-30, the NYSE closed its doors due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane destroyed areas of New Jersey and New York – causing Lower Manhattan to be faced with extreme flooding and power outages.
This closing became the first weather-related closing since Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and the first weather-related multiple-day closing in 127 years. When the market re-opened, the Dow was positive – up 1.00%.
The Bottom Line
Although we may associate unexpected market closings with horrific events, this is not always the case. Though there have been numerous events that have spooked investors, but not all NYSE-closing events negatively affect the markets. For more information on the market’s reaction to unexpected events, be sure to check out How the Dow 30 Reacts to Major Events.