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US Stock Exchanges Hope to Re-Open Monday - 2001-09-14

The U.S. stock exchanges are still hoping to re-open on Monday.

Wall Street wants to be up and running effectively Monday, with full trading. Steps have already been taken to make it easier for companies to re-purchase their shares to prop up the market. Network equipment company Cisco, for one, has announced it will buy back $3 billion of its stock.

However, a resumption of trading depends on the massive testing this weekend of all market-related systems to make sure they are functioning. And it is not certain yet how much of the Wall Street area physically will be opened up by Monday because of the on-going search operation in lower Manhattan.

A bit of positive news is that about 80 percent of phone lines in the area are said to be working again. Also, the major firms connected with Wall Street theoreticaly are ready for business. They all have back-up facilities in other cities and states, which were set up after the first terror attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

Still, the logistics are daunting. More than 100,000 Wall Street staff will have to get into lower Manhattan without compromising the salvage operation. And then, there is the psychological factor following Tuesday's terror.

Michael Critelli, the chief executive officer of computer hardware company Pitney Bowes, says many people simply are not emotionally ready to get back to business as usual. "The human dimension of this is we have to recognize that it will be difficult for employees to go back to the area that's been destroyed," he said. "There's psychological issues besides just the difficulty of getting back to work. So we're working on a plan to find space outside the area from which we can set up operations for our customers and for our employees."

Pitney Bowes provides services for big financial and legal institutions in New York.

Another note, some major U.S. brokerages had offices in the World Trade Center. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter was the largest tenant, occupying 22 floors. Miraculously, most of the 3,500 staff were able to get out before the towers collapsed.

Not so fortunate were employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, the leading U.S. bond trader. Most of its staff are missing.