© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2001
NEW YORK -- Wall Street exchanges did not open, and other U.S. markets halted trading Tuesday after planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers and government buildings in Washington, causing extensive damage. President Bush called it "an apparent terroristic attack."
"As a safety precaution while the tragic events of today are sorted out, the securities markets have decided not to open for trading today," SEC chairman Harvey Pitt said in a statement. "We strongly support that decision."
In Canada, the Toronto Stock Exchange also shut down.
The New York Stock Exchange is located in lower Manhattan near the trade center, and many of the major brokerage houses are nearby. The Nasdaq Stock Market, a computerized trading system, initially said it would open late, but then decided not to open at all. Chicago exchanges opened, then shut down in midmorning.
"The two explosions were incredible and at the point of explosions all you could see outside were personal belongings and office supplies raining outside," said Bob Rendine, an American Stock Exchange spokesman, whose office is down the block from the NYSE. "We're staying here. We think it's safer to stay inside then go outside at this point."
Business and trading in other parts of the country also were affected. The Chicago Board of Trade suspended trading at 10:15 a.m.
Around the country and world, the investment community was focused on the fate of people working in the buildings affected by the apparent terrorist attacks.
"I'm just worried about people who are there," said Robert Harrington, head of listed block trading at UBS Warburg's office in Connecticut.