Remembering 9/11 and the NYSE’s triumphant reopening

Remembering 9/11 and the NYSE's triumphant reopening


As we mirror on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 and on the family and friends not with us, it is vital to do not forget that catastrophe was adopted by one of many best days within the historical past of the New York Inventory Change — the reopening of buying and selling on Monday, Sept. 17, 2001.

That day, I used to be there early, standing outdoors the NYSE with Chairman Richard Grasso as Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill drove as much as assist ring the opening bell with firefighters and law enforcement officials. They have been led by NYC Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik and Hearth Division Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, together with Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York Gov. George Pataki and SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt.

“The market is prepared, the nation is prepared,” Grasso declared. “We’re again to enterprise. Do not guess towards America since you’ll be fallacious.” 

On the ground, a dealer comforts one other throughout a second of silence on September 17, 2001.

David L Ryan | Boston Globe | Getty Photographs

On the ground, the temper was tense however patriotic, and why should not it’s? Warren Buffett had gone on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” saying he wouldn’t promote any of his holdings when the market reopened. There had been quite a few calls within the week earlier than from traders insisting it was the patriotic obligation to purchase.

Earlier than the open, two minutes of silence have been noticed. Members of the New York Metropolis police and fireplace departments, representing the heroes of 9/11, had come on the ground. All the room sang “God Bless America,” after which the police and firefighters, together with the dignitaries, rang the opening bell. 

With that form of opening, the buying and selling that ensued was anticlimactic. An hour earlier than the markets opened, the Federal Reserve had lower rates of interest by a half level, however it did not appear to make a distinction. 

The S&P 500 dropped almost 5% and the Dow fell 7% — to the bottom ranges in almost three years. By the top of the week, the S&P 500 had dropped almost 12% from its pre-9/11 degree.

Nobody cared. The market had been closed nearly every week, the longest closure because the Nice Melancholy. 

What mattered was that it was open once more.

The 9/11 aftermath: The markets

The invasion of Afghanistan adopted three weeks later, on Oct. 7, 2001. Briefly, it regarded just like the market was recovering. Inside a month, the S&P was again to its degree previous to 9/11. The federal government had introduced billions of {dollars} in stimulus. The Federal Reserve had lower rates of interest dramatically.

However all was not proper. The dot-com bust of 2000, adopted by 9/11, had pushed the U.S. right into a recession. The chapter of Enron later that 12 months additional eroded confidence.

The summer season of 2002 was a catastrophe. The S&P 500 dropped greater than 20% in June and July. It did not backside till October.

A dealer seems to be up grimly at a display on the New York Inventory Change September 17, 2001 in New York.

Chris Hondros | Getty Photographs

The 9/11 aftermath: The psychological

For these of us who lived and labored downtown, the markets weren’t the key situation.

It was the psychological scars, which have been simply starting to floor. Everybody who labored within the Monetary District had associates who had died within the catastrophe. I had a number of, together with Invoice Meehan, chief market analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, a raconteur with a keenness for Hawaiian shirts and with whom I spent many fantastic after-hours in eating places, speaking about life and the markets.

There was additionally the grim actuality of working downtown. The Monetary District had morphed right into a partly closed armed camp. It was nearly unimaginable to cross Canal Avenue, the dividing line between Soho/Chinatown and the Monetary District, except you have been a resident or labored on the NYSE or on Wall Avenue. Police have been in every single place, on each nook. Nobody knew if one other assault was coming. 

There was, above all, the smoldering pit of the World Commerce Heart. The smoke wouldn’t disappear for a 12 months, and it might be seen for miles round. The worst was the odor: the acrid odor of still-burning paper, workplace furnishings and constructing supplies.

And but, everybody on the NYSE got here to work. They have been – like me – anxious, and plenty of have been depressed. However all of us got here to work. 

However work was altering. The assaults and the dot-com bust had mixed to enormously cut back curiosity in Wall Avenue and buying and selling. Extra buying and selling was going electronicly, eroding the ground’s dominance. 

Some determined to go away the enterprise, others tailored. I joined a Buddhist heart and realized how one can meditate. It obtained me by way of that darkish 12 months. I nonetheless apply.

Considering of you, Invoice

And what about my buddy Invoice Meehan from Cantor Fitzgerald, who died within the North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, together with 657 different Cantor Fitzgerald workers? 

He is nonetheless there. He lives on in my reminiscence and the reminiscence of all others who knew and beloved him.   

In case you’re by the memorial, cease by to pay your respects. William J. Meehan, Jr., Panel N-27, North Memorial Pool.



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