US stocks higher after historic 2-day close

Associated Press
Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks to traders before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Traffic is snarled, subways out of commission, streets flooded and power out in many parts of the city, but the New York Stock Exchange opened without hitch Wednesday after an historic two-day shutdown, courtesy of Hurricane Sandy.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg has rung Wall Street back to business.

Traffic is snarled, subways out of commission, streets flooded and power out in many parts of the city, but the New York Stock Exchange opened without hitch Wednesday after an historic two-day shutdown, courtesy of Hurricane Sandy.

Bloomberg rang the opening bell at 9:30 a.m., right on schedule, as stock traders cheered from the iconic trading floor below, falsely rumored to be flooded, but dry Wednesday morning, and festive.

"It's good for the city, good for country, it's good for everyone to get back to work," the New York City mayor told CNBC moments later while leaving the exchange building at 11 Wall Street.

The market got off to a good start after the shutdown. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 18 points to 13,125 in the first hour of trading.

The last time the exchange closed because of weather for two consecutive days was during the Blizzard of 1888 — 124 years ago. The exchange is running Wednesday on backup generators since power is nonexistent in large parts of downtown Manhattan.

"It's been very smooth," Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext, told CNBC from the floor of the exchange. "The market-making community is more than staffed enough to be open."

He added, "We jokingly said this morning we may be the only building south of Midtown that has water, lights and food."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged down a fraction of a point to 1,411. The Nasdaq composite lost 16 points to 2,971.

General Motors jumped $1.46 to $24.74 after beating most analysts' profit forecasts for the third quarter.

MasterCard's net income rose strongly in the third quarter, and Visa will report after the closing bell as well. Dozens of quarterly earnings reports that had been postponed because of the storm will be arriving over the next two days.

The government releases its October employment report on Friday.

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