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Wall Street closed slightly lower on Thursday, October 29, after official figures showed a sharp slowdown in economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23.72 points, or 0.13%, to 17,755.80.

The latest GDP figures suggested the US economy grew at an annualized pace of 1.5% in Q3 of 2015, down from 3.9% the previous quarter.Wall Street US stocks

GoPro shares fell 15.2% following the release of disappointing results from the camera maker.

Shares in Allergan, which makes Botox, and Pfizer were both suspended after the companies confirmed they were in buyout talks.

The tech-focused NASDAQ index fell 21.42 points, or 0.42%, to 5,074.27.

The S&P 500 index was barely changed, down 0.94 points at 2,089.41.

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Alibaba’s shares closed significantly above their initial price on the NYSE on Friday, September 19.

Shares in the company made their debut in the US at $92.70, after being priced at $68 late on Thursday.

They ended the $93.89 – 38% above the initial asking price.

More than 100 million shares were traded in the minutes after the stock was launched – more than Twitter.

Earlier in the day, founder and chairman Jack Ma rang the opening bell.

The NYSE was festooned with the orange and white logos of the company to herald its arrival on public markets.

The company raised nearly $21.8 billion in its share sale, indicating strong investor appetite for China’s e-commerce giant.

Alibaba is now valued at $231.4 billion – making it significantly larger than Amazon and Facebook.

Alibaba's shares closed significantly above their initial price on the NYSE

Alibaba’s shares closed significantly above their initial price on the NYSE (photo Reuters)

If Alibaba’s bankers decide to take up an option in which they can purchase 48 million shares themselves, then Alibaba’s launch will have raised nearly $25 billion – breaking the previous $22.1bn record set by China’s Agricultural Bank in 2010.

Alibaba operates a series of online marketplaces in China and elsewhere, handling more transactions than Amazon and eBay combined.

It is responsible for more than 80% of online e-commerce in China.

Alibaba’s share sale is being viewed as a way to invest in e-commerce growth in China.

Already, the country is home to the largest population of internet users on the planet – and most estimates say that only half of China’s 1.3 billion residents have signed online.

That is why investors have been angling for some time to get a piece of Alibaba – long the market leader in e-commerce in China.

However, investors are not buying shares directly in Alibaba’s companies operating in China, but rather in a holding company in Cayman Islands which has a profits contract with Alibaba.

That has made some wary, and it is one reason why Alibaba did not list on Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

Either way, the sale is expected to make millionaires out of a large number of the company’s managers, software engineers and other staff.

Currently Alibaba’s single largest shareholder is Japan’s Softbank which holds a 32% stake. Yahoo also has a stake.

Alibaba made a profit of almost $2 billion in the three months to the end of June, with sales up by 46% year-on-year to $2.54 billion.

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Alibaba shares have been priced at $68, the top end of the range, in a sign of strong investor appetite for the Chinese e-commerce giant.

With trading starting on the New York Stock Exchange later on Friday, September 19, the share sale will raise $21.8 billion, making it one of the largest flotations ever.

It values Alibaba, which accounts for 80% of all online retail sales in China, at $167.6 billion.

That value surpasses such corporate titans as Walt Disney and Boeing.

The final amount raised from the sale could change, depending on the final allotment allocation. If underwriters exercise an option to sell more shares, the money raised could increase to $25 billion, beating the record listing held by Agricultural Bank of China. That flotation in 2010 raised $22 billion.

Alibaba operates a series of online marketplaces in China and elsewhere, handling more transactions than Amazon and eBay combined.

The company was formed 15 years ago by former teacher Jack Ma, who wants to use some of the proceeds to expand in the US and other markets.

Alibaba shares have been priced at $68 ahead of NYSE flotation

Alibaba shares have been priced at $68 ahead of NYSE flotation

Trading in Alibaba shares is expected to be frenetic in the early hours after the market opens. Many experts expect the share price to go higher once trading begins as institutions add Alibaba stock to their investment portfolios.

US search giant Yahoo, already a shareholder in Alibaba, is selling some $8 billion worth of its holding in the offering, leaving it with about 16% of the company.

Japan’s Softbank is not selling for now and will be left with a 32% stake, making it the largest single shareholder.

However, control will remain in the hands of Jack Ma and other company veterans. A group of 27 manager dubbed the “Alibaba Partnership” will have the power to nominate a majority of board members.

Regulators at the Hong Kong stock market objected to this structure, which resulted in Alibaba deciding to list in New York.

Alibaba says the arrangement will help it to preserve its innovative culture.

Jack Ma’s stake is reportedly worth about $14 billion, while the sale is expected to make millionaires out of a large number of the company’s managers, software engineers and other staff.

Alibaba acts as an online marketplace for wholesalers, retailers, and small businesses, and handles e-payments and financial transactions. The company has also branched out into cloud computing and instant messaging.

Alibaba has about 279 million active buyers visiting its sites at least once a month.

Online spending by Chinese shoppers is forecast soar over the next few years. And Alibaba has plans to expand into emerging markets as well as Europe and the US.

Alibaba made a profit of almost $2 billion in Q2 2014, with sales up by 46% year-on-year to $2.54 billion.

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Shares in New York are trading lower as the prospect of a shutdown of some US government activities looks increasingly likely.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 both fell 1% shortly after the open, but then recovered some lost ground.

The deadlock also unsettled European stock markets, already nervous about the political crisis in Italy.

The US needs to agree a new spending bill before the financial year ends at midnight on Monday.

But political divisions have resulted in a stalemate and there are worries over the economic impact of a shutdown of the US government.

If the government does shut down on October 1, as many as a third of its 2.1 million employees are expected to stop work – with no guarantee of back pay once the deadlock is resolved.

National parks and Washington’s Smithsonian museums would close, pension and veterans’ benefit cheques would be delayed, and visa and passport applications would be stymied.

Programmes deemed essential, such as air traffic control and food inspections, would continue.

Shares in New York are trading lower as the prospect of a shutdown of some US government activities looks increasingly likely

Shares in New York are trading lower as the prospect of a shutdown of some US government activities looks increasingly likely

Investors will be keen to know if Friday’s job report will be released.

The monthly non-farm payrolls report is one of the most closely watched pieces of US economic data.

Employees at the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), who prepare the report, would be among those who would stood down in the event of a shutdown.

“All survey and other program operations will cease and the public website will not be updated,” said Erica Groshen, commissioner of the BLS, said in a memo published on the department’s website.

Republicans are targeting President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, popularly known as Obamacare.

Early on Sunday, the Republican-run House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Senate spending bill that removed funding for the healthcare law.

US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has vowed that his Democrat-led chamber will reject the Republican bill.

“Tomorrow, the Senate will do exactly what we said we would do and reject these measures,” said Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“At that point, Republicans will be faced with the same choice they have always faced: put the Senate’s clean funding bill on the floor and let it pass with bipartisan votes, or force a Republican government shutdown.”

Speaking for the president, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “Any member of the Republican Party who votes for this bill is voting for a shutdown.”

The president, he said, would also veto the Republican bill.

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CNN earned itself another black eye after wrongly reporting that the New York Stock Exchange was flooded with three feet of water following the worst of Hurricane Sandy.

“There has been no damage to our building or systems, and we will conduct tests with the industry today with the aim of reopening U.S. markets on Wednesday,” NYSE spokesman Ray Pellecchia said in a statement.

During a live segment on Piers Morgan’s show Monday night, the anchor spoke with the network’s meteorologist who based the sensational claim solely on a comment left in a chat room.

“You have an update on the stock exchange situation. Do we still think that three feet of water got into the exchange? There seem to be conflicting reports now,” Piers Morgan asked meteorologist Chad Myers.

“Oh, is that right? You know, I got that from the National Weather Service chat bulletin board. It was right on there; it said three feet of water on the floor. I don’t know if there’s conflicting reports or not,” Chad Myers said.

CNN wrongly reported that NYSE was flooded with 3 feet of water following the worst of Hurricane Sandy

CNN wrongly reported that NYSE was flooded with 3 feet of water following the worst of Hurricane Sandy

The claim instantly went viral, spreading quickly on social networks and circulating as fact.

An NYSE official quickly tried to thwart the rumor, saying that the infrastructure of the landmark Wall Street building was “fine”.

A spokesman for the network issued a vague apology, purposefully avoiding the point of the fact that their sources were as murky as the alleged sea water that covered much of lower Manhattan.

“Chad referenced a National Weather Service report that turned out to be incorrect. We quickly made an on air correction. We regret the error,” CNN spokesman Bridget Leininger said.

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The New York Stock Exchange reopens for regular trading today (Wednesday, October 31st) after being shut down for two days because of Hurricane Sandy.

The exchange said in a statement Tuesday that its building and trading floor are fully operational and that normal trading will resume at the usual starting time of 9:30 a.m.

There had been erroneous reports Monday that the exchange floor had flooded. Exchange spokesman Ray Pellecchia said the exchange’s building did not have any flooding or damage

Tuesday marks the first time since 1888 that the NYSE remained closed for two consecutive days because of weather. The earlier shutdown was caused by a massive snow storm.

Sections of Manhattan were inundated with water on Tuesday and power was shut off to millions of people and businesses up and down the East Coast.

Manhattan’s financial district was one of the hardest hit when Hurricane Sandy slammed New York Monday afternoon and through the night.

Initial reports that the exchange was three feet underwater were denied by a press spokesman.

“There has been no damage to our building or systems, and we will conduct tests with the industry today with the aim of reopening U.S. markets on Wednesday,” NYSE spokesman Ray Pellecchia said in a statement.

Though they would not go into specifics, a number of generators must be located onsite in order for the prospect of a Wednesday reopening to be considered, since lower Manhattan remains without power and will likely continue as such for as long as week, according to city power executives.

The closure has made several records in the history of the exchange, as Monday’s closing was the first time that the markets were formally shut since the days following the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Beyond that, it was the first time that it closed since Hurricane Gloria 27 years ago.

When today’s closure was announced it was became first time that the NYSE was closed for two consecutive days due to weather since 1888.

The New York Stock Exchange reopens for regular trading today after being shut down for two days because of Hurricane Sandy

The New York Stock Exchange reopens for regular trading today after being shut down for two days because of Hurricane Sandy

Like much of the city, the Exchange braced for the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Sunday, lining up a sandbag barrier outside the building on iconic Wall Street.

Nasdaq officials began employing their contingency plans as soon as they came to the decision to close on Sunday around 10.30pm.

Traders were able to continue to complete a drastically-reduced level of orders electronically, as many banks have remote systems set up so that employees can work from home in crisis situations.

The New York Stock Exchange, which is a privately-held company in itself, keeps a secondary location up and running in case of emergency where all data is stored.

The problem there, however, is that the data centre is in Mahwah, New Jersey, which is dealing with potentially more structural damage than New York.

According to Wall Street and Tech, the centre boasts a supply of 28 megawatts of power, which equates to the amount used to power 4,500 residential homes.

Additionally NYSE spokesman Robert Rendine told The New York Times that they have a number of generators and sufficient fuel to power the site for at least one week if electricity does not return.

“I’m a little surprised that the exchanges couldn’t secure the technology needed to keep the market operating,” said Dominic Salvino, a trader from the Chicago Board Options Exchange told Bloomberg Businessweek.

“It seems unreasonable that the nation’s financial markets have to shut down just because everyone has located themselves within five miles of each other in New Jersey. A snow storm in Chicago wouldn’t shut down trading on the East Coast.”

The ripple effects are already being seen, as companies are postponing their quarterly earnings, which were scheduled to be released earlier this week.

According to CBS News, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and media conglomerate Thomson Reuters are two of the tardy reportees.

Dozens of companies have postponed earnings reports this week because of the storm, but Ford Motor Co. did release results for the third quarter that topped Wall Street expectations.

Ford’s revenue fell 3% to $32.1 billion because of the economic crisis in Europe and falling sales in South America. The company exceeded Wall Street’s revenue forecast of $31.5 billion largely because of North America, where revenue jumped 8%.

European stock markets rose broadly Tuesday after falling the day before. Trading was subdued in the wake of the storm. Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.9%, Germany’s DAX rose 1.1 percent and the CAC-40 in France was 1.5% higher.

Crude oil rose 14 cents to settle at $85.68 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.S. bond trading was closed Tuesday.

Electronic trading for U.S. stock index futures was open, but trading volume was very light and the price moves were minuscule.

As of the regular close of trading at 9:15 a.m., Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 8 points to 13,062. S&P 500 futures added 3.50 points to 1,411.10. Nasdaq futures slipped 3.75 points to 2,655.25.

On Monday, when regular U.S. stock trading was also closed, stock index futures fell slightly.

 

Businesses and services in the north-eastern US are expected to start re-opening on Wednesday after two days of closure forced by Hurricane Sandy.

Some airports, government buildings, schools and the New York Stock Exchange are due to return to business.

But many homes still have no power and the New York subway will remain shut. More than 40 people are dead.

President Barack Obama, who has suspended his election campaign, is due to visit affected areas in New Jersey.

The cost of clearing up after storm Sandy has been estimated at $30-40 billion.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “We have not seen damage like this in a generation.”

The storm is still causing severe disruption after moving inland from the coast. It is forecast to weaken as it turns north into Canada, but to continue dumping heavy snow and rainfall.

At least 22 people were killed in New York City alone.

JFK and Newark Liberty – two of the New York area’s three main airports – were scheduled to open for a limited service on Wednesday, but severe delays were expected after the cancellation of more than 18,000 flights across the affected area.

The New York Stock Exchange says it will also re-open after two days’ closure, as will the Nasdaq exchange. The last time the stock exchange shut down for two days was in 1888.

Businesses and services in the north-eastern US are expected to start re-opening on Wednesday after two days of closure forced by Hurricane Sandy

Businesses and services in the north-eastern US are expected to start re-opening on Wednesday after two days of closure forced by Hurricane Sandy

New York’s subway system sustained the worst damage in its 108-year history, said Joseph Lhota, head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).

Subway tunnels were flooded and electrical equipment will have to be cleaned before the network can re-open.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there was “no timeline” for when the subway would restart, but he hoped buses could begin running again on Wednesday.

Trams and ferries were resuming services, but most of New York’s bridges remain closed.

Across the north-east, at least eight million homes and businesses are without power because of the storm, says the US Department of Energy.

Sandy brought a record storm surge of almost 14 ft (4.2 m) to central Manhattan, well above the previous record of 10 ft during Hurricane Donna in 1960, the National Weather Service said.

Maryland appeared to have the worst of the rain and snow – with falls of 12.5 in (32 cm) and 28 in respectively.

President Barack Obama was due to tour disaster areas in New Jersey on Wednesday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Chris Christie, a Republican and staunch supporter of Mitt Romney, went out of his way to praise the Democratic president for his handling of the storm.

“I spoke to the president three times yesterday,” Chris Christie told CNN.

“He’s been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state and not once did he bring up the election… If he’s not bringing it up, I’m certainly not going to bring it up.”

Mitt Romney resumed low-key campaigning on Tuesday, converting a rally into a storm relief event in the swing state of Ohio.

In other developments:

• US federal agencies in Washington DC will re-open on Wednesday

• Fire destroyed about 50 homes in the New York City borough of Queens

• More than 200 patients were evacuated from New York University’s Tisch Hospital after power went out and a backup generator failed

• Three nuclear reactors have been closed due to electrical supply and cooling system problems; a fourth was put on alert because of rising water.

In all, storm Sandy has claimed well over 100 lives, after killing nearly 70 people as it hit the Caribbean.

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Knight Capital is reported to be close to reaching a $400 million rescue deal with a group of investors, which would allow it to open its doors on Monday.

An IT glitch on Wednesday caused its trading to go haywire, losing it $440 million.

Knight Capital is a major market-maker on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which means it helps make sure there is a market for particular shares if investors want to buy or sell.

The rescuers are reported to include Blackstone Group and TD Ameritrade.

Knight Capital is reported to be close to reaching a $400 million rescue deal with a group of investors, which would allow it to open its doors on Monday

Knight Capital is reported to be close to reaching a $400 million rescue deal with a group of investors, which would allow it to open its doors on Monday

The Chicago-based market-maker Getco and financial services companies Stifel Nicolas, Jefferies Group and Stephens Inc are also reported to be involved.

The consortium is expected to end up owning between 70% and 75% of Knight Capital.

TD Ameritrade is the biggest volume brokerage in the US, carrying out much of its futures, foreign exchange and bond trading through Knight Capital’s systems, which means it would be very inconvenient for it if Knight were to stop trading.

But even if the trader manages to resume operations on Monday, it will still have to persuade clients to return to it.

TD Ameritrade and Scottrade said they would be returning their business to Knight, but others such as Vanguard said they were not yet ready to trade with Knight again.

The market-maker may also face legislation from its shareholders, who have seen the value of their holdings plummet since Wednesday and will probably have to put up with further dilution if the rescue goes ahead.

Knight Capital said that a faulty upgrade to its trading software had caused numerous erroneous trades to be sent.

It is thought that the firm racked up its loss, equivalent to half of the value of its equity, in the space of just a few minutes.

The software glitch is thought to have affected Knight’s trading algorithms, which are computer programmes that automatically and speedily send out buy and sell orders based on market data and client requests.