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Ivy Schmerken
Ivy Schmerken
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NYSE Gears Up for Hurricane Irene

With hurricane Irene threatening to strike New York City on Sunday, the U.S. stock exchange has contingency plans, but still plans to open on Monday.

With the threat of Hurricane Irene hitting the east coast most likely on Sunday, the New York Stock Exchange has made contingency plans and vows to open as normal on Monday. "We intend to ring the bell at 9:30 am," Lou Pastina head of floor operations, tells Bob Pisani of CNBC this morning.

But if lower Manhattan is evacuated and if Mayor Bloomberg decides to close the subway system and bridges, how will floor brokers and exchange employees find transportation to get in? Both the exchange and firms have taken hotel rooms in Manhattan, and so they have plans to be here on Monday to open the market, said Pastina.

And if the NYSE can't open its iconic floor -- well, there is always Plan B.

Since the NYSE owns Archipelago, an electronic market, it can still operate if the hurricane delays the exchange from opening the floor, explains Pastina to CNBC's audience. Because of electronic trading, the NYSE is no longer dependent on its floor. Also, there are other several other electronic stock markets in the U.S. that can operate as well, said Pastina, alluding to competitors such as Nasdaq, BATS and Direct Edge.

If the building can't be opened, NYSE operates an emergency command center with alternative power sources, backup generators for its Wall Street building and floor operations, which can reroute information feeds. Pastina says the NYSE has moved all of its computer systems out of lower Manhattan several years ago, so they are out of harms way. "It will be a matter of can the traders can get there (to the floor) and can the traders get to their upstairs desks to send us orders." Here is the CNBC Video.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio
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