Stock futures fall; Sandy shuts down US markets

Stock futures were down Monday as Hurricane Sandy shut down the major US financial markets, the first unplanned shutdown since September 2001. Stock futures on the Dow slid 99 points in premarket trading, and several companies postponed earnings reports due to Hurricane Sandy. 

Richard Drew/AP/File
Sandbags protect an entrance of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. Stock futures fell as Hurricane Sandy continued on its path Monday, forcing the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets. There had been plans to allow electronic trading to go forward on the New York Stock Exchange but with a storm surge expected to cover parts of lower Manhattan in water, officials decided late Sunday that it was too risky to ask any personnel to staff the exchanges.

Stock futures fell, and all major U.S. stock and options exchanges will remain closed Monday with Hurricane Sandy nearing landfall on the East Coast, the first unplanned shutdown since September 2001.

There had been plans to allow electronic trading to go forward Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, but with all mass transit shut down in and out of the city, the risks were determined to be too great.

The Nasdaq and the CME Group in Chicago will also close. CME Group's Nymex headquarters and New York trading floor are located in a mandatory evacuation zone in Manhattan. Its New York trading floor will be closed, but electronic markets were functioning.

Benchmark oil for December delivery fell 61 cents to $85.67 a barrel.

The New York Stock Exchange could remain closed Tuesday as well, depending on the severity of the storm. If that should occur, it would be the first time since 1888 that a weather-related event caused a two-day shutdown. The cause in 1888 was a blizzard that left drifts as high as 40 feet (12.2 meters) in the streets.

On Monday, areas around the Financial District were part of a mandatory evacuation zone, with the storm surge from Sandy expected to push waters into portion of lower Manhattan.

The Dow Jones industrial futures slid 99 points to 12,955. The broader S&P futures gave up 10.3 points to 1,397.30. Nasdaq futures fell 22.50 points to 2,636.50.

Some companies are also postponing quarterly earnings reports scheduled for release early this week. So far, that includes Pfizer Inc. and Thomson Reuters.

Burger King reported on schedule, and said its third-quarter net income fell 83 percent as revenue was hurt by the stronger dollar. Adjusted results topped expectations, however.

The Commerce Department plans to release September consumer spending figures as scheduled at 8:30 a.m. ET. (1230 GMT)

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