NYSE Euronext said it is preparing to implement a new contingency plan to help resume stalled U.S. equity trading, and added that its famed trading floor is not yet damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Under the plan outlined late on Monday, all trading in NYSE-listed securities would be executed on the Arca exchange, NYSE said in a notice issued to traders.
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NYSE Arca will offer firms the ability to test the opening and closing auctions on NYSE Arca on Tuesday from 8 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) until 12 noon ET, the exchange said. (http://r.reuters.com/der63t)
Opening auctions will run at 9:30 a.m. ET and closing auctions will run at 12 noon ET, the exchange said.
"We stress that, as of now, there has been no damage to the NYSE Euronext headquarters that would impair trading floor operations," NYSE said in the notice.
The contingency plan was described as "precautionary" given the unpredictability of the storm that has flooded parts of New York city.
Nasdaq OMX said in a trader alert late on Monday it would operate its production system in a testing capacity from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET. (http://r.reuters.com/fer63t)
In the event that the markets are able to open on Wednesday but the NYSE headquarters and trading floor in lower Manhattan are unavailable for trading, NYSE Arca would open and trade Tape A equities as usual.
NYSE and the smaller NYSE MKT would remain closed as per the contingency plan.
U.S. stock markets will be closed for a second day on Tuesday, as Wall Street turned its attention to whether markets would be able to resume functioning on the month's final trading day on Wednesday.
Wednesday is a key trading day because it marks the end of the month, when traders price portfolios.
U.S. stock markets closed on Monday due to weather for the first time in 27 years. Bond markets closed early, at noon, as winds and waves from Hurricane Sandy lashed the Eastern seaboard.
The NYSE had said on Sunday it planned to close its trading floor and to move all trading to its electronic market. It backtracked on that idea after traders and regulators expressed concern about moving everything to the all-electronic venue, a plan tested on March 31 but never used live, given the difficulties and low staffing levels due to the storm.
With New York still to feel the full impact of the storm Monday evening, fears remained that wind damage and possible power outages could test the ability of markets to reopen.
(Additional reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Rodney Joyce)