U.S. Stock Futures Fall as Investors Brace for Hurricane

U.S. stock futures fell, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated last week, as investors braced for the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

The storm, forecast to come ashore somewhere in southern New Jersey early Oct. 30, forced the closure of the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The NYSE said it will invoke contingency plans to move all trading to NYSE Arca, its electronic exchange, tomorrow.

S&P 500 futures decreased 0.3 percent to 1,403 as of 8 a.m. Tokyo time. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,021.

“It won’t bring the world economy to an end, but volume should be slower than usual,” Timothy Ghriskey, the chief investment officer at Solaris Group LLC, which manages about $2 billion in Bedford Hills, New York, said in a phone interview. “It’s not going to be a huge impact because of electronic trading. Yet retailers, insurers and refiners might feel more pressure.”

NYSE Euronext said it took the action after city and state officials declared emergencies and suspended public transportation starting tonight. High wind warnings and watches, calling for gusts as strong as 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour, stretch from Maine to North Carolina and as far west as Ohio, according to the National Weather Service. Flood watches and warnings cover most of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic coast.

At the NYSE, workers began stacking sandbags this afternoon. The Big Board said in a statement it will invoke contingency plans to trade its stocks on NYSE Arca. NYSE Amex Options will open electronically. NYSE MKT, formerly known as NYSE Amex, will be suspended, the company said.

1996 Blizzard

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.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. executives are monitoring the situation, coordinating with other exchanges and working with government officials, spokesman Joe Christinat said in a phone interview today.

The benchmark gauge for American equities is poised to snap a four-month rally amid concern about corporate profits. The S&P 500 has slumped 2 percent so far in October. Third-quarter earnings at 72 percent of the index’s companies that have reported so far beat estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales missed forecasts at 59 percent of companies, the data showed.

Jobs Data

The jobless rate probably rose in October as U.S. employers kept a tight rein on payrolls with the nation closing in on the so-called fiscal cliff, economists said before a report this week. The fiscal cliff refers to more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that will take place in 2013 unless Congress can reach a budget compromise.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi endorsed a proposal by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for a commissioner who has power over the budgets of nations in the euro region.

“I am fully in favor of it,” Draghi said in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel, according to a transcript published Oct. 28 by the Frankfurt based-ECB. Draghi also sought to alleviate German concerns about the ECB’s bond-purchasing program by pledging that it would not engage in “uncontrolled” market interventions.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE