The NYSE is remarkably punctual. Since 1985, the NYSE has been open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, excluding pre-schedules holiday closures. Rarely do markets close on short notice. However, it does happen.
From moon landings to hurricanes, here's our list of the 11 most significant events that caused the stock market to close.
Our list does not include circuit breaks or halts — which is when prices dip too sharply and then the market freezes to prevent panic selling. The NYSE has also been known to observe a "moment of silence" to commemorate different events. Moments of silence typically last 1-3 minutes. We do not include these short pauses in our list.
11 Events that Closed the NYSE
#1: National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush
Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2018
George H.W. Bush was the 41st president of the United States. He served for 1 term from 1989 to 1993. The former president died on Friday, November 30, 2018 at the age of 94. His state funeral was on Wednesday.
It is tradition for the NYSE and NASDAQ to close the markets during the funeral of a former president. During the funeral, U.S. Bond markets were also closed. The CME closed U.S.-based equity and interest rate options and futures.
#2: Hurricane Sandy
Dates: Monday, October 29, 2012 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey and New York on Monday, October 29, 2012.
As the Hurricane approached, New York City declared a state of emergency and suspended all subway and bus services. The NYSE originally planned to close only the trading floor and keep electronic trading open. However, on Sunday evening it was announced that all U.S. equities markets would be suspended. Regulators were concerned about communication interruptions caused by the storm that could affect electronic trading as well.
Lower Manhattan was severely flooded and lost power. As a result, markets were closed for 2 days.
This was the first weather-related closure since Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and the first multi-day weather-related closure since the blizzard of 1888.
“Dangerous conditions developing as a result of Hurricane Sandy will make it extremely difficult to ensure the safety of our people and communities, and safety must be our first priority.”
#3: National Day of Mourning for President Gerald R. Ford
Date: Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Former President Gerald R. Ford passed away on December 26, 2006 at the age of 93. He was the 38th president of the United States and served from 1974 to 1977. He was also vice president from 1973 to 1977.
On December 27, 2006, one day after his death, the NYSE observed a moment of silence from 9:30 to 9:32 am to remember the president. Then on January 2, 2007, the day of President Ford's funeral, markets suspended trading for the full day.
#4: National Day of Mourning for President Ronald W. Reagan
Date: Friday, June 11, 2004
President Reagan was the 40th president of the United States. He served 2 terms from 1981 to 1989. He died on Saturday, June 5, 2004 at the age of 93.
U.S. Markets closed on June 11, 2004, the day of President Reagan's state funeral. A moment of silence as observed on Monday, June 7th in remembrance of President Reagan.
#5: Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center
Dates: Tuesday, September 11 - Friday, September 14, 2001
At 8:46 am on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 terrorists flew a hijacked plane into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Markets were scheduled to open that morning at 9:30 am. Markets did not open again until 6 days later on September 17, 2001.
This is the longest period of time U.S. markets have been closed since the start of World War I in 1914.
#6: National Day of Mourning for President Richard Nixon
Date: Wednesday, April 27, 1994
Former President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994. He was 81. Richard Nixon served as the 37th president of the United states from 1969 to 1974.
When President Nixon's funeral was held on April 27, 1994, the U.S. stock market remained closed in observance.
#7: Hurricane Gloria
Date: Friday, September 27, 1985
Hurricane Gloria hit the Northeast US on September 27, 1985. The was reported to have caused a storm surge 6.9 ft in Battery Park, just a few blocks away from Wall Street.
Hurricane Gloria causes major damage to the easter seaboard, particularly in New England and even into Canada.
The trading floor was closed as the hurricane approached. In 1985 there was no electronic trading so markets were fully closed.
#8: NYC Blackout of 1977
Date: Thursday, July 14, 1977
On the evening of July 13, 1977, a series of lightning strikes caused a widespread blackout in New York City. The outage lasted until the following day. Most of Manhattan, where Wall Street is located, got power in the morning. However, all power was not restored until that evening.
Even though power was restored to Wall Street early on Thursday morning before markets were scheduled to open, the NYSE remained closed.
#9: National Day of Participation for the Lunar Landing 🚀
Date: Monday, July 21, 1969
As the world held its breath watching on TV, Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 21, 1969.
A week before President Nixon signed an executive order declaring July 21, 1969 a "Nation Day of Participation." The order officially closed all executive offices and urged private business to close so more Americans could watch the historic event.
#10: National Day of Mourning for Martin Luther King Jr.
Date: Tuesday, April 9, 1969
Martin Luther King, Jr. is the only non-president whose death triggered the NYSE to close.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The stock market was closed for a National Day of Mourning on Tuesday, April 9, 1968.
The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ both closed each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. MLK Day is closer to Martin Luther King's birthday than to the day he was assassinated. MLK Day is the third Monday of January which can fall between January 15 and January 21. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929.
#11: Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Date: Monday, November 25, 1963
On Friday, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On the 22nd, markets closed at 2:07 pm.
On Monday, November 25, 1963, the day of the president's funeral, the stock market was closed.
These are not the only times the stock market has closed unexpectedly. The New York Stock Exchange was formed in 1792 and has kept its doors open through wars, terror attacks, and blizzards.
However, the market does occasionally during emergencies or to honor late presidents.
Here are a few more times when trading on the NYSE was interrupted that didn't make our list:
COVID-19 Closes NYSE Trading Floor - In March 2020, as Corona Virus spread rapidly through the U.S. (and New York City in particular), the NYSE closed the trading floor. From March 23 to May 26 2020 the trading floor of the NYSE was closed to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus; however, electronic trading continued. Most trading is conducted online anyway and there were no significant interruptions as a result of closing the trading floor.
Paperwork Crisis of the 1968-1970 - In the last 1960's trading volume soared. Before the age of computers, this meant more paperwork. A lot more paperwork. To give back offices time to catch up, the NYSE started closing on Wednesdays. This lasted for months. Then they changed back to 5-days a week but with shorter hours. Eventually, in May 1970, things got back to normal. Learn more about the Paperwork Crisis.
Clerical Staff Strike - In November 1987, the clerical staff of the NYSE went on strike. For 3 days the markets were forced to close early. However, markets never closed for a full day.
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