US markets to be closed
Stock markets in the United States will be closed again Tuesday for a second day without trading as Hurricane Sandy roared closer to the New York area.
The New York Stock Exchange and BATS Global Markets said in separate statements that they have agreed to close, after consulting with other exchanges and clients. The NYSE added that it planned to operate on Wednesday, pending developments in weather conditions.
The decision came as little surprise, with market operators already hinting that they would stay closed as the storm’s impact intensified. And the Securities Industry and Financial Market Association, an industry trade group, recommended that U.S. bond markets stay closed on Tuesday as well.
The two-day stoppage is the first weather-related closure of the U.S. stock markets since Hurricane Gloria in 1985. And it is the first unscheduled trading stoppage since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Representatives for the exchanges emphasized that the safety of their employees was paramount, relying on skeleton crews to run critical operations. And a slew of Wall Street firms, some of whose offices are based in evacuated areas of Manhattan, have asked employees to continue working remotely.
—Michael J. De La Merced, The New York Times
Chinese general promoted to
BEIJING — A former deputy chief of the army’s general staff, Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe, has been promoted to commander of the 2nd Artillery Corps, home of the strategic missile force, the Defense Ministry said Monday.
The new position as head of one of China’s most important military units is part of a major turnover in China’s armed forces and almost certainly assures Wei a seat on the Central Military Commission, the military’s top decision-making body, currently headed by President Hu Jintao.
The new membership of the commission, which will oversee the rapid modernization of China’s military, is expected to be announced after the 18th Party Congress next month.
Wei’s promotion had been anticipated. He served as chief of staff of the corps between 2006 and 2010, and was involved in intercontinental ballistic missile testing in 1989, said Mark Stokes, the executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, in Washington, a nongovernmental organization that studies military issues in Asia.
“He is a professional soldier who has spent his whole career in the missile troops,” Bo Zhiyue, a research fellow at the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, said of Wei. “He is relatively young and will work for another decade. He will add to the professionalization of the 2nd Artillery Corps.”
—Jane Perlez, The New York Times
Random House and Penguin
PARIS — The book publishing industry is getting smaller to get stronger.
Confirmation on Monday that Random House and Penguin will merge narrows the business to a handful of big players, led by a new international giant, Penguin Random House. And it could set off a long-awaited round of consolidation, analysts said.
Bertelsmann, the owner of Random House, and Pearson, which owns Penguin, said Monday that they had reached an agreement to combine the two houses to create the largest consumer book publisher in the world.
Analysts said the deal between Bertelsmann, of Germany, and Pearson, of Britain, would give the combined companies greater scale to deal with the challenges arising from the growth of electronic books and the power of Internet retailers.
Together, Penguin Random House would have a global market share of more than 25 percent, and a book list that includes contemporary best-sellers like Random House’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Penguin’s back list of classics from authors including George Orwell.
With e-book sales growing, publishers are increasingly worried about the leverage wielded by Internet giants like Google, Apple and, especially, Amazon. These companies have huge resources to invest in new technology, including digital sales platforms and algorithms that steer people toward books that match their interests. Their scale gives them the power to negotiate better terms on book prices.
—Eric Pfanner, The New York Times
Scott Brown pulls out of Senate debate in Massachusetts
BOSTON — Sen. Scott P. Brown’s campaign announced Monday afternoon that he would not participate in his fourth and final debate with Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic challenger, on Tuesday night, citing Hurricane Sandy.
“It is simply not appropriate to go forward with a political debate when a disaster strikes,” Colin Reed, a spokesman for Brown, said in a statement.
The announcement caught the debate sponsors by surprise as well as the moderator, John King of CNN, who had traveled to Boston on Sunday to beat the storm.
The Warren campaign subsequently issued a statement saying that Warren agreed that the debate should not be held.
A poll in the Boston Globe on Monday showed Brown in a dead heat with Warren, a positive turn of events for the Republican, who had been trailing in most recent polls.
Still, some political experts said Brown’s pullout seemed risky.
“He appears to be slightly down in this race and he could use a big debate to change the dynamic,” said Rob Gray, a Republican consultant not involved in the race.
—Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Times