Sandy’s economic clout will linger

By Nelson D. Schwartz – October 30, 2012

From the mighty New York Stock Exchange to businesses up and down the East Coast, commerce came to a halt yesterday as superstorm Sandy swept toward shore.

Financial markets, department stores and many big companies on the East Coast announced plans to close today as well. Unlike past hurricanes that blew through in a day or two, Sandy will be felt for much of the week, broadening the economic fallout.

Overall, losses from the storm could total from $10 billion to $20 billion, according to an analysis by Equecat, a firm that performs catastrophe risk modeling for the insurance industry and government.

“We think it’s going to be big,” said Tom Larsen, senior vice president and product architect for Equecat, suggesting the toll could fall somewhere between that of Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Hurricane Irene last year.

Besides the halt in both electronic and floor trading in virtually all Wall Street financial markets yesterday and today, several prominent companies also delayed scheduled announcements.

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