How Often Does the NYSE Close and Why?

Image credit: Flickr user George Rex

Today is the second day of no trading at the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, the first unscheduled closing of markets since the September 11 terrorist attacks and the first multi-day weather closing since an 1888 blizzard. But what else do they close for besides weather?

I took the full list of NYSE closings throughout its history and eliminated holiday closings and closings that lasted less than half a day. Here are the stats of what’s left:

By reason

  • 1 solar eclipse (January 24, 1925–only a delayed opening until late morning, but this one was unusual enough to be worth noting)
  • 10 celebrations, including the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration, a National Day of Participation for lunar exploration, and parades for Charles Lindbergh, General Eisenhower, and General MacArthur
  • 6 deaths: William McKinley, King Edward VII, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy
  • 26 funerals, mostly for former presidents, as well as a few kings and queens and former NYSE president Seymour L. Cromwell
  • 10 incidents ranging from strikes to gas fumes on the trading floor and a 1921 fire in the annunciator board
  • 12 days of early closings after the October 19, 1987 market break and record volumes
  • 9 war-related closings, including 2 Draft Registration Days and a false report of armistice in 1918, as well as 9 civil defense drills in the 1940s and 1950s
  • 14 weather-related closings, mostly snowstorms and several days in 1918 when they closed to shut off the heat in order to preserve fuel for the war
  • 6 closings totaling almost 18 months of both early and full closings due to “paperwork crises,” “back office workload,” and “to allow member firm offices to catch up on work and to relieve personnel”

 

By day

Of the one-day closings:

  • Monday: 12
  • Tuesday: 15
  • Wednesday: 10
  • Thursday: 9
  • Friday: 14
  • Saturday: 16

 

By year

  • 1880s: 5 closings
  • 1900s: 8 closings
  • 1910s: 20 closings
  • 1920s: 10 closings
  • 1930s: 6 closings
  • 1940s: 8 closings
  • 1950s: 9 closings
  • 1960s: 15 closings
  • 1970s: 4 closings
  • 1980s: 4 closings
  • 1990s: 2 closings
  • 2000s: 4 closings

 

By day, Ruth works to make open source software communities better. The rest of the time, she makes things, which means her husband and kids know to watch out for stray sewing pins and to ask before eating anything made of fondant.