Attacks could have long-term impact on world markets

By Carole-Anne Elliott Special to the Daily Planet
Wednesday September 12, 2001

While most people are thinking about the tragic loss of life during the events Tuesday, some are looking at what the loss will mean to the U.S. economy. 

It will take generations to replace skills lost of workers killed Tuesday, one expert said. “Those are very specialized people,” said Richard K. Lyons, professor of finance and economics at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. 

The Berkeley offices of Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley had major offices at the World Trade Center. Other financial corporations among the 63 registered security brokers at the World Trade Center include Charles Schwab, Raymond James and Dean Witter Reynolds. 

“Even if we get the stock exchange up and running,” said Lyons, “building up that stock of people and skills is a generational thing. That’s the longer term impact.” 

The American Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market all closed Tuesday after the tragedy. Markets were to remain closed for a second day today, an occurrence not seen since President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, said Andrew Leckey, director of the business reporting program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Officials “didn’t want to start up the other markets with just chaos reigning,” Leckey said. 

According to CNN’s Financial Network, futures of Standard & Poor’s 500 index, Nasdaq and the Dow Jones Industrial Average all fell just before the markets were closed. Abroad, markets plunged in Frankfurt, Milan, Paris and London; stocks in Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Mexico also fell, the network reported. 

What the effect of the attacks will be on the markets, said Alan Auerbach, chair of UC Berkeley’s economics department, is “hard to know.” 

“If we got into a phase of having substantially reduced international trade because there’s a lot of pressure to protect international shipping and international flights,” then the markets could be harmed for some time Auerbach said. 

But some experts think the markets will be able to rebound. “The market always surprises you,” Leckey said. “It’s something that people will work very hard to get up and running again.”