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Wall Street After 9.11
Well, US markets will open 90 minutes late as moments of silence are observed on Wall Street. Maggie takes a look at how the events of September 11th have changed New York City’s status as the financial capital of the world.
Out of the ashes of the World Trade Center, new life is emerging in New York’s financial district. Images of rebuilding and return have replaced those of destruction. But is far from business as usual on Wall Street. Of the companies affected by 9.11, 81% were financial firms, and some have decided not to come back.
What they’re saying is and what they are saying privately to us is that they are not comfortable in this environment committing to a situation where it is as unstable as it is and the future of downtown is so undecided.
Vacancy rates downtown which were about 8.7% before 9.11 are now running at 20%. For those that remained, security concerns have meant moving at least some of their business out. The New York Stock Exchange has set up a backup trading system at a secret location, rumored to be outside of the city. Financial giants like Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sacks have accelerated their move across the river to New Jersey. But while business continuity has caused the physical perimeter of Wall Street to expand, the spirit is still intact.
The fact that New York City as a whole remains the financial center and the capital of the world in terms of business is unquestionable and we are at least as strong today and probably stronger than before.
Whether that will continue is another question. Not only has the address of some of Wall Street’s players changed, but so has the origin.
Let’s face it. For the first time we have a number of foreign companies that don’t have any national allegiance let’s say to New York to the United States. We have Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse First Boston, UBS, all playing a much broader role in financial markets than they ever have before. Who’s to say that the growth in the next five to ten years won’t be in Brussels? Or in Singapore in the Far East?
No on can say for sure. But traders contend the small money is on New York.
There’s something electric in the air, electric in the restaurants, electric on the floor of the exchanges, in the board rooms in the meeting rooms, that feeds on itself to make the best and the brightest and the most ambitious, what to be here, stay here, live here and work here. And you don’t dismember that by a couple of airplanes flying into buildings.