Oct 31 - The iconic opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange sounded loudly after silenced for two days by Hurricane Sandy, but business is not totally back to normal. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The silence is lifted on Wall Street as the New York Stock Exchange rings the opening bell, marking the re-opening of U.S. equity markets after a two-day shut down. Monster storm Sandy knocked out power and submerged the neighborhood surrounding the Stock Exchange under 13 feet of water, but the Big Board is back up and running - armed with back-up generators and 40 hours of fuel. Traders heading into the building ahead of the open were anxious to get back to work. SOUNDBITE: PETER TUCHMAN, NYSE TRADER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's scary. It's rare to see New York like this. But I'm happy to be at work." SOUNDBITE: JONATHAN CORPINA, NYSE TRADER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it was good to get back down here. I think it was the right call to have a market-wide halt the last two days. But now that the weather has cleared up. It seems like the roads have cleared up and its easier enough to get down here, that trading should start again and we are prepared here at the New York Stock Exchange to get it done." In another sign business is back, cross-town rival Nasdaq OMX announced it is buying the index business of Mergent, which is expected to boost the electronic exchange's business. Even though business is back, it's far from usual,; with some transportation still under water many traders on the East Coast are having a hard time getting back to their desks.