US stock markets to close in honour of former president George H W Bush

Ben Chapman
It is the first time the NYSE has been closed during regular trading hours since Hurricane Sandy: Getty

The New York Stock Exchange and other major US markets will be closed on Wednesday to honour former president George HW Bush who died last week at the age of 94.

US flags will fly at half-mast and the three main US stock indices - Dow Jones Industrial Average the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq - will be at a standstill.

Options and futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange will shut down but there will be a normal session for energy and metals futures.

It is the first time the NYSE has been closed during regular trading hours outside of an official public holiday since 29 and 30 October 2012 as Hurricane Sandy tore through New York City. Markets last shut down in memory of a dead president in January 2007 for Gerald Ford.

Wall Street traders will not be alone in having an unplanned day off. Most federal employees will also be excused from work after Donald Trump ordered the government to close to honour Mr Bush, the 41st US president, who has been remembered as a unifier in the days since his death.

The US Postal Service, will suspend its normal mail delivery and local offices will shut to honour Mr Bush’s “vast contributions to our country during his lifetime”. Social security field offices and the National Passport Information Centre will also close for the day.

The closures come after news that Mr Trump has been invited to Mr Bush’s funeral. Those who knew the former commander-in-chief said Mr Trump’s invitation was a deliberate choice he made before his death.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told People Magazine over the weekend Mr Bush didn’t want to “stiff a sitting president”.

Mr Bush’s body made its final journey to Washington DC on Tuesday, where the former president lay in state at the US Capitol ahead the funeral.

A service will take place at the National Cathedral in Washington on Wednesday morning before his body will be brought back to his home state of Texas to be buried.