Why Close the Markets Today?

Observing Good Friday one reason; superstition about 1907 panic another
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2008 3:10 PM CDT
Pedestrians pass by the New York Stock Exchange March 11, 2008 in New York City.   ((Mario Tama/Getty Images))
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(Newser) – The Big Board is closed today—but the reason is open to some debate, Bloomberg reports. The last time the markets opened on Good Friday was 101 years ago, when they saw one of two huge crashes that made up the Panic of 1907. Fear of repeating that catastrophe may be what keeps traders home, but it may also be the lasting influence of Irish Catholic execs.

“It's closed on Good Friday because of the panic of aught-seven,” one second-generation trader recalls his father saying. Others reason that's hogwash: "The financial institutions close on holidays, frankly, out of the belief that there is insufficient demand, insufficient trading activity and insufficient business,'' said one academic. Still, today's break is the only one that's not also a federal holiday.