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Can Exchanges Weather Storm?

At the Millenium Hilton in New York City, a motley crew of hotel guests—bewildered foreigners, TV people, and refugees from the evacuated Marriott and W hotel—have gathered beneath the hotel's awning to stare at the giant cranes of the World Trade Center directly in front of us.

Hurricane Irene - A CNBC Special Report
Hurricane Irene - A CNBC Special Report

Meantime, the only independent restaurant that remains open in the Financial District—Les Halles on John Street—had perhaps two dozen patrons. There was no bartender, but Jim, the general manager, insisted he would stay open as late as possible and would reopen Sunday night.

As for whether the markets will open on Monday, sources at both the New York Stock Exchane and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association confirm that no decision has been made but there are "calls today and tomorrow at many levels."

Two problems: Major flooding is possible in downtown New York City, and power outages.

Goldman Sachs and the NYMEX are in evacuation zones; can they open Monday?

And Con Ed has acknowledged it may shut down power in the Financial District.

This is a bigger issue than just getting employees to Goldman, the NYSE, and the NYMEX. If the New York City transit system remains shut, both buy-side and sell-side traders will likely be unable to get to work.

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