Investors may have received more attention Monday from their brokers and professional traders, who were unable to practice their trade when markets closed due to Hurricane Sandy.
“I can't buy a share of AT&T, but I can certainly talk to a client,” said Tom Phillips, president of T.S. Phillips Investments Inc. in Oklahoma City.
Markets also will be closed Tuesday due to the expected aftermath of Sandy's winds, storm surge and torrential rains. Market officials hope to reopen Wednesday.
“This is a real rare deal,” Phillips said. “It's pretty extraordinary to have market shut down two days in a row.”
The last time trading was halted two consecutive days due to weather was in 1888, when a blizzard closed the stock market.
So what does a professional trader do on a day when he or she cannot trade?
“They become client service days,” said Hal Brown, senior vice president at BOSC Inc., a broker/dealer that focuses on fixed income. “Revenue certainly takes a blow.”
Fixed-income markets were open a few hours Monday, and Brown said corporate clients used the trading time to prepare for the closure.
“We had a number of corporations planning for their liquidity needs for the next few days,” Brown said. “There was a bevy of activity.”
Bret Dean, BOSC president, said when the stock market closes, “there's not a lot we can do.”
Many of the people working in BOSC's trading room spent Monday contacting clients to “talk them through what's going on,” Dean said.
The shutdown comes in a week that will conclude with major economic announcements, including employment numbers, and with next week's presidential election on the horizon.
Having markets close “heaps on a little more uncertainty,” Brown said.
Gary Tillman, BOSC vice president of institutional investments, labeled the shutdown “a little hiccup. I don't think it's anything major.”
Phillips agreed, saying none of his clients had expressed concerns about the impact of the market closure on prices.
Meanwhile, Phillips said traders are “sitting on our hands,” waiting for the storm to pass.