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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NYSE Ready to Resume Trade Monday

NEW YORK -- The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market said Saturday that daylong tests of their electronic systems were successful and they will reopen Monday -- ending the longest interruption of U.S. trading since before World War II.

Meanwhile, across the nation many institutions, companies and individuals were encouraging their peers to be ready to buy stock Monday to prevent a sharp sell-off in share prices.

The reopening of the NYSE's famed Wall Street trading floor is expected to provide a big psychological boost in the city and far beyond.

In addition to getting a critical piece of the country's financial system back on its feet, restarting the markets will be an important symbol of the nation's recovery from last week's terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, market and government officials stressed.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and other top government officials will be at the NYSE for the start of trading. A group of New York policemen, firemen and other emergency workers will ring the traditional opening bell at 9:30 a.m.

There will be a two-minute moment of silence before trading begins.

The resumption of stock trading will "send a very important message to the criminals who so heinously attacked this country, that they lost," NYSE chairman Richard Grasso said at a news conference at the exchange. "The American way of life goes on."

The NYSE, located a few blocks from the collapsed World Trade Center towers, wasn't physically damaged in the disaster.

But the communications links between the NYSE and its member brokerage firms sustained heavy damage in the attack. Phone company Verizon Communications has been working around the clock to replace damaged lines in lower Manhattan.

The NYSE and Nasdaq said their tests Saturday showed that communications were well enough restored to allow for trading to resume. The markets are expected to do final testing Sunday.

The Nasdaq Stock Market, which isn't a physical exchange like the NYSE but rather is a nationwide network of brokers linked electronically, said brokerages that represent 98 percent of a normal day's trading volume participated successfully in Saturday's tests.

The smaller American Stock Exchange, located close to the World Trade Center site and still lacking power and water, won't be able to open its trading floor Monday but will resume operations with the help of rivals. American Stock Exchange shares will trade on the NYSE.

Nevertheless, questions remain as to how the first day of stock trading will go -- both in terms of logistical issues in getting tens of thousands people to work in lower Manhattan and in terms of the direction of the market.

Though subway service in the Wall Street area has been restored, many people filing back for their first day of work could experience delays and disruptions.

The four-day suspension of stock trading has been the longest since at least 1933, when markets were closed in tandem with a federally ordered bank holiday during the Great Depression.

Monday will be the first opportunity for most U.S. investors to react to last week's attacks, which occurred early Tuesday morning.

Fears about investors' reaction have been compounded by the weakened state of the market in recent months. Stock prices fell sharply in August and early this month, as worries mounted about the struggling economy and decimated corporate profits.

Over the last few days, many institutions, companies and individual investors have been exhorting the nation to buy stocks Monday to prevent a severe decline in share prices.

Companies ranging from technology giant Cisco Systems, insurer American International Group, software firm BEA Systems and coal miner Arch Coal in recent days have announced plans to buy back some of their own shares in the market. Such purchases could help support the stocks' prices.

In e-mails and in open letters on financial web sites, others also appealed to Americans' patriotism in urging that people buy stock Monday, or at least refrain from selling.

"If every one of us, along with millions of other Americans get in there and buy 100 shares of your favorite stock, we can reach the goal of getting a billion shares on the plus side at the ringing of the closing bell on Monday," wrote Dave Sackett, a partner at Republican research and polling firm Tarrance Group, in an e-mail to associates.