What will happen when the stock market reopens?

Sandbags protect an entrance of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 29, 2012.
AP Photo/Richard Drew

(MoneyWatch) Given the devastation Hurricane Sandy wrought on the Eastern Seaboard in general and New York's financial district specifically, you might expect stocks would take a beating too, once the markets reopen. What's more, after a market shutdown, traders are often in a selling mood.

But an NYSE spokesman says he expects the market to be open tomorrow, and stocks may not plummet after all. That's based on stock futures showing a slight increase from last Friday's close. They were down Sunday and Monday but rebounded, possibly in response to Sandy's damages not being as catastrophic as feared.

In addition, foreign stock markets can give us an indication of the market's mood. As of the time of this writing, the London FTSE index is up 0.61 percent since Friday while Japan's Nekkei index gave up 0.98 percent. Of course much can change in the next day.

Early estimates are that Sandy could cost $15 to $20 billion in damages. While this is devastating, it represents about 0.1 percent of the total value of the U.S. stock market.

Assuming markets open tomorrow, it may not be a trivial thing, after this unprecedented two-day weather shut-down. The Wall Street Journal reports that the NYSE will busily be working today to ensure trading opens smoothly. Exchanges have developed contingency plans if damage has been done to the exchanges themselves.

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    Allan S. Roth is the founder of Wealth Logic, an hourly based financial planning and investment advisory firm that advises clients with portfolios ranging from $10,000 to over $50 million. The author of How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street, Roth teaches investments and behavioral finance at the University of Denver and is a frequent speaker. He is required by law to note that his columns are not meant as specific investment advice, since any advice of that sort would need to take into account such things as each reader's willingness and need to take risk. His columns will specifically avoid the foolishness of predicting the next hot stock or what the stock market will do next month.