Question: Listener on Twitter asks what it means to Americans when the stock market is closed. Dave says it doesn't mean anything more than it being closed on a Saturday.
Answer: Not much. The stock market, or New York Stock Exchange, was closed on Monday and Tuesday because of Hurricane Sandy. Wall Street is an actual street. Some people think it's a mythical place where stocks are traded, like Star Trek land or something. It's only a hop and a jump from Battery Park, near the south tip of Manhattan where a lot of the flooding has occurred and people have been hammered there.
To go down there and open the stock market today would have been crazy and dangerous. The NYSE didn't need to open and then have all the systems go down and then have them all on battery backup power in the middle of this thing.
But as far as what that means to you, it's very little. There may be a little bit of wildness when it reopens, but by this time next week, people will be a whole lot more worried about a presidential election than they will about a hurricane.
For that matter, what does it mean when they aren't open on Saturday? It means that on Monday, trading and exchanging of stocks for money will resume. I don't think you'll see anything earth-shaking about it.
It is very interesting, though, that for the first time in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, it has been closed for two days due to weather. The only time I remember it being closed in my adult life more than two days, or even one day, was 9/11. Again, Wall Street was right around the corner from where the towers fell. The front doors of the stock exchange literally had dust on them from the collapse of the towers.
It was closed until the following Monday if I remember right, and 9/11 was on a Tuesday.