NEW YORK, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Wall Street geared up for a regular securities trading session on Tuesday as a snow storm that effectively shut down New York City was downgraded from a blizzard to a winter storm in the immediate metro area.
The New York Stock Exchange, a unit of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and one of the main cogs of the U.S. financial markets complex, expected to be open for “business as usual,” spokesman Eric Ryan said.
Ryan’s statement was echoed by a spokesman for BATS Global Markets, the No. 2 U.S. stock exchange by volume, and on Monday Nasdaq OMX Group had said it, too, would operate as scheduled on Tuesday.
Electronic trading of U.S. equity index futures was underway, with about 90,000 contracts of S&P 500 e-mini futures having been traded by about 7 a.m. ET (1200 GMT). U.S. Treasury debt futures were also trading without interruption.
The massive storm was still pounding much of New England, but delivered a much softer-than-forecast punch to the greater New York area, with less than a foot of snow in Central Park versus the two to three feet predicted as the storm advanced on the area on Monday.
Transit systems in the region remained shut down, however, forcing investment banks and fund managers to rely on skeleton crews of staff who either lived within walking distance of their trading floors or who stayed overnight in Manhattan hotels.
“We expect a regular open and a manageable trading day,” said Jamie Selway, managing director and head of electronic brokerage at Investment Technology Group. “The storm was a bit of a bust. The issue today is getting people to work given the pre-emptive travel ban.”
ITG had between 10 and 15 essential personnel staying in hotels in lower Manhattan overnight Monday to make sure they would have enough people on Tuesday morning.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said a travel ban in the region had been lifted at 7:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT). (Reporting by John McCrank; Writing by Dan Burns; Editing by Franklin Paul)