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September 30, 2001

Big Board Defies Odds and Disaster

By Gregory Bresiger

Checkpoints, identification cards and members of the National Guard became a part of the New York Stock Exchange when it re-opened after the World Trade Center tragedy. "They looked at every picture and they looked at every face," one specialist said.

But Big Board officials were also satisifed that markets, although highly volatile, were functioning and were orderly. A spokesman for the NYSE said daily volume in the first week averaged some 2.2 billion shares. NYSE officials added that they were ready to handle double or triple that number.

The Federal Reserve and dealers pledged that there would be plenty of liquidity. Although cash and electronic systems were credited for the successful return of the markets, NYSE spokesman Ray Pellechia said the human factor was also why the NYSE and other major markets are back in business.

"We have had an incredible amount of cooperation between and among dealers and markets," he said. For instance, the American Stock Exchange, which is housed in a building that was perilously close to the two towers, had its equity operations temporarily moved to the NYSE. "We've had tremendous efforts. Everything from raising money for the victims of the tragedy to firms offering office space to their competitors," according to Pellechia.