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Morning Outlook

Sandy Shuts Down Stock Markets

Morning OutlookFOXBusiness

For a city that never sleeps, much of New York was tucked in early, prepping for Hurricane Sandy.

While equity index futures are trading (Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq) today, as are commodity futures (oil, gasoline, gold, silver, copper, etc.), and currencies, the U.S. stock markets are closed. The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, and CME all decided to shut their doors and electronic platforms after talks with each other and with regulators late Sunday night.

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It's likely they'll stay closed tomorrow, too. The last time the NYSE shut its floor trading for a weather-related event was during Hurricane Gloria back in 1985.

Much of lower Manhattan, which houses the NYSE and Nymex, has been evacuated and most of the big banks, including Citigroup (NYSE:C), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), are operating on a work-from-home basis.

It's hard to tell how much damage Sandy will cause.  She is a much different type of storm than Irene, with a mix of tropical and winter weather. Irene caused $4.3 billion in insured damages last year, making it one of the 10 costliest U.S. hurricanes ever, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The III is not predicting the cost for Sandy just yet, as everyone's awaiting landfall; but the best-case scenario would be for Sandy to hit fast and move on out. The lingering effects, as seen with Irene last year, can cause hundreds of millions of dollars in flood damage.

Insurance adjusters are already mobilized, and they plan to be on scene Wednesday; they can (and plan to) write checks on the spot for policyholders affected.