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Exchanges Plan Normal Open Next Week as ‘Frankenstorm’ Nears

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and NYSE Euronext currently plan to operate their markets normally next week as Hurricane Sandy approaches the U.S. East Coast.

Nasdaq said it will communicate regularly with other exchanges and its members as the storm progresses. It told customers to monitor its “systems status” web page for further updates, according to an e-mail from the exchange. The NYSE is also planning to remain open.

“The current plan is to operate with business as usual,” Rich Adamonis, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext, said in a phone interview.

The last time the NYSE cut trading hours for weather was Jan. 8, 1996, when a blizzard dropped more than 20 inches on New York City in the second-biggest snowstorm of its history, according to the city’s website and the exchange. It last closed for a full day on Sept. 27, 1985, for Hurricane Gloria.

A superstorm, dubbed “Frankenstorm” by the National Weather Service, is expected to develop from Hurricane Sandy and two other storms rushing eastward across the U.S. in what may become the worst storm to hit the U.S. East Coast in 100 years. Discussions are under way to evacuate parts of New York City and close subways if necessary, said Jerome Hauer, New York State’s homeland security commissioner.

Sandy Lurks

As of 2 p.m. New York time, Sandy’s top winds fell to 75 miles (121 kilometers) per hour, down from 100 mph earlier, according to the hurricane center in Miami. It was 30 miles north-northeast of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 430 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, moving northwest at 7 mph.

In anticipation of Hurricane Irene last year, NYSE Euronext prepared to invoke emergency authority to declare its electronic exchange, NYSE Arca, the stand-in for the New York Stock Exchange, though no such action was necessary after the hurricane weakened.

NYSE received powers in December 2009 allowing it to let Arca operate on its behalf “in the event that an emergency condition prevents the NYSE from operating normally,” according to the rule, which the SEC approved. NYSE’s Rule 49, which has never been invoked, says the declaration must be necessary for the securities markets to continue to operate.

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