Why Can't The Stock Market Be Closed For 2 Weekdays In A Row?

Thanksgiving weekend offers a rare four-day weekend for most Americans. Unfortunately, Wall Street is afforded no such luxury.

Instead of shutting down on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, the NYSE and other major U.S. exchanges are open for business for an abbreviated Friday session that closes at 1 p.m. EST.

Traders that choose to simply disregard the shortened session typically are not alone. In 2015, Black Friday’s shortened session was the lowest-volume day of the year.

So, if nobody on Wall Street wants to work on Black Friday and few people actually trade, why does the NYSE even bother opening for an abbreviated session?

As a rule of thumb, major markets try to avoid closing down for more than a single business day at a time. In other words, there are no four-day weekends on Wall Street.

More Than Tradition

According to Oliver Pursche, president of Goldberg Financial Services, this rule is all about reducing potential volatility.

“News events can build up quickly, and if the market is closed for days at a time, investors react to it all at once whenever the market does open,” said back in 2012 when the NYSE made the rare decision to shut down two days in a row following Superstorm Sandy.

Prior to Sandy, the last time the NYSE shut down for more than one day at a time was during the four days following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Regardless, the market typically doesn't move much during the abbreviated Black Friday session. In 2015, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY finished the day down 0.4 percent.

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Posted In: EducationMarketsGeneralBlack FridayGoldberg Financial ServicesOliver PurscheThanksgiving
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