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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Shares gloom in terror aftermath
Police officers ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange
New York's finest signalled the start of trading
New York's stock exchanges have closed on the first day of trading since last Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center, with sharp falls tempered by cuts in interest rates.

The benchmark Dow Jones stock index lost 7% of its value - the largest one-day fall in its history - and the hi-tech Nasdaq fell 6.8%.

But support from central banks around the world helped to stave off the gloomiest predictions, with the United States, Europe, Switzerland, Canada and Sweden cutting interest rates by 0.5%.

The return to business at the world's largest stock exchange had been eagerly awaited, after its longest shutdown since the depression of the 1930s.

traders on exchange floor
Traders held a two-minute silence
There has been widespread anxiety about the possible impact on the sluggish US economy of last Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

In other developments:

  • The Taleban authorities in Afghanistan say they will decide on the fate of Osama Bin Laden - the man named by the United States as the prime suspect in the attacks - at a meeting of the country's Islamic leaders on Tuesday

  • The UN refugee agency is sending emergency staff to Pakistan and Iran in advance of what it says could become a major Afghan refugee crisis.

  • Two more people in the United States are detained as "material witnesses", taking the number of people arrested in the investigation so far to four

  • President George W Bush says that the US wants Bin Laden "dead or alive"

  • Mr Bush is considering scrapping a law banning US overseas assassinations

  • US Attorney-General John Ashcroft asks Congress for stronger anti-terrorism laws, including wider phone-tapping powers

  • Rescue workers in New York find the remains of two hijacked plane crew members, bound hand and foot

    The opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was rung at 0933 local time (1333 GMT) by firefighters involved in the rescue effort.

    This was preceded by a two-minute silence and a chorus of God Bless America in honour of the victims, thought to number more than 5,000.

    Empire State Building lit up
    A new, patriotic colour scheme for the Empire State Building
    At the weekend, as emergency services continued their search for survivors amid the rubble of the twin towers, workers had laid and rewired thousands of cables to restore telecommunications and power to Wall Street.

    New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) chairman Richard Grasso was flanked on the exchange floor's balcony by members of the police, fire department and other emergency services as the exchange re-opened.

    "Let us celebrate these wonderful men and women," he told traders.

    Outside, a huge American flag was draped across the NYSE's famous columns.

    Political and business figures have urged Americans to move on from the attacks on New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

    And some investor bulletin boards on the internet have received messages calling on people to buy at least one share as a way of showing patriotism and support for the financial district.

    President George W Bush
    Bush: "Great faith" in the economy
    Returning to Washington from the presidential retreat of Camp David in Maryland, where he has been discussing the US military response to the attacks, President George W Bush expressed "great faith in the resiliency of the economy" on Sunday night.

    In a gesture of pride and defiance, the Empire State Building, which is now once again the tallest building in New York, was lit up in red, white and blue.

    Hopes fade

    New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says that 201 bodies have been retrieved from the rubble of the World Trade Center, 135 of which have been identified. Another 5,422 people are missing.

    "The recovery effort continues and the hope is still there that we might be able to save some lives," Mr Giuliani said. "But the reality is that in the last several days we haven't found anyone."

    Mr Giuliani has warned that the bodies of some of the missing people may never be brought out, as they were incinerated in the explosions and fires that followed the airliners striking the towers.

    Many of New York's banks and brokerage firms have lost hundreds of key staff. Computer networks and trading records have been destroyed, and parts of Manhattan are still without telephones and electricity.

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Ben Brown in New York
    "Draped in the Stars-and-Stripes the money makers of Wall Street went back to work"
    The BBC's Stephen Evans
    "All the patriotic fervour in the world couldn't keep a stock market up"
    Roger Bootle, Capital Economics
    "A fall of 7% is big but not catastrophic"

    The loya jirga

    Profiles

    Unfinished conflict

    Rebuilding the country

    FACT FILES

    AUDIO VIDEO

    TALKING POINT
    View market data
    Launch marketwatch
    The Markets: 9:29 UK
    FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
    Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
    Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
    FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
    See also:

    17 Sep 01 | Americas
    Hopes fade for missing
    17 Sep 01 | Business
    Solemn traders return to Wall Street
    17 Sep 01 | Business
    Picture gallery: Wall Street returns
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