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Morning Market Roundup: Consumer Spending Up, Earnings Reports Postponed, Sandy Shuts Down Exchanges

Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

U.S. Consumer Spending: Americans increased their spending in September at twice the rate their income rose.

The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending increased 0.8 percent in September. That followed a 0.5 percent gain in August and was the biggest increase since February. Personal income rose 0.4 percent, up from a slight 0.1 percent gain in August and the best gain since March.

Consumer spending drives about 70 percent of total economic activity.

Hurricane Shutdown: All major U.S. stock and options exchanges will remain closed Monday with Hurricane Sandy nearing landfall on the East Coast, the first unplanned shutdown since September 2001.

There had been plans to allow electronic trading to go forward Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, but with all mass transit shut down in and out of Manhattan, the risks were determined to be too great.

The Nasdaq and the CME Group in Chicago will also close. CME Group's Nymex headquarters and New York trading floor are located in a mandatory evacuation zone in Manhattan. Its New York trading floor will be closed, but electronic markets were functioning.

The New York Stock Exchange could remain closed Tuesday as well, depending on the severity of the storm. If that should occur, it would be the first time since 1888 that a weather-related event caused a two-day shut down.

The cause then was a blizzard that left drifts as high as 40 feet in the streets of New York City.

On Monday, areas around the Financial District were part of a mandatory evacuation zone, with the storm surge from Sandy expected to push waters into portion of lower Manhattan.

Though it's likely to carry little in the way of market sentiment, the Dow Jones industrial futures slid 99 points to 12,955. The broader S&P futures gave up 10.3 points to 1,397.30. Nasdaq futures fell 22.50 points to 2,636.50.

Earnings Reports: With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast Monday and financial markets shut down, a number of major U.S. companies have postponed quarterly earnings.

Companies including Pfizer Inc., Thomson Reuters Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. have delayed earnings reports to later this week. Pfizer, which was due to report Tuesday, will now announce results on Thursday. Thomson Reuters, also originally scheduled for Tuesday, will report Friday. NRG will also report on Friday instead of Wednesay.

Other companies delaying their announcements:

  • Power provider Entergy Corp. will report on Nov. 5 instead of Tuesday.
  • Biopharmaceutical Acorda Therapeutics Inc. will report results on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
  • Maintenance products distributor MSC Industrial Direct Co. will report results on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
  • Mortgage insurer Radian Group Inc. will report earnings on Thursday instead of Tuesday.

The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and CME Group in Chicago will remain closed Monday and possibly Tuesday. Trading on the NYSE was last closed on Sept. 11, 2001, and last closed for a weather related event in 1985, for Hurricane Gloria.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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