Much of the East Coast was at a standstill Monday as the storm approached. Mass transit and schools were closed across the region ahead of the storm hitting land, which was expected to happen later Monday.
Areas around New York's Financial District were part of a mandatory evacuation zone. The storm surge is already pushing water over seawalls in the southern tip of Manhattan.
CME Group's New York trading floor was closed, but electronic markets were functioning. Crude oil fell 80 cents to $85.48 in electronic trading.
CME hasn't made any announcements about trading on its markets for Tuesday. CME owns exchanges that trade commodities, futures, options and securities related to interest rates.
Bond trading will also be closed Tuesday. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association called for an early close to bond trading Monday, at 12 noon. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 1.72 percent, compared with 1.75 percent late Friday.
European stock markets fell. France's CAC-40 fell 0.8 percent, Britain's FTSE fell 0.2 percent and Germany's DAX lost 0.4 percent. Insurers such as Munich Re, Aviva PLC and Zurich Insurance fared worse than other stocks as investors worried about the potential cost of the storm's damage.
"The economic impact cannot be underestimated," said Elsa Lignos, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
The uncertainty generated by the storm comes at the start of a big week in the United States. This is the last full week before next Tuesday's presidential election and culminates Friday with the release of monthly jobs data, which many analysts think could have an impact on the vote.
"A significant swing in either direction is likely to be heavily reported in the media, potentially swinging the undecided voter," said James Hughes, chief market analyst at Alpari, of the jobs figures.
Some companies are postponing quarterly earnings reports scheduled for release early this week. So far, that includes Pfizer Inc. and Thomson Reuters. Burger King reported on schedule, and said its third-quarter net income fell 83 percent as revenue was hurt by the stronger dollar. Adjusted results topped expectations, however.
Even with many markets shut down, there was some encouraging news about the U.S. economy Monday. The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending increased 0.8 percent in September. That followed a 0.5 percent gain in August and was the best showing since February.
Personal income rose 0.4 percent, an improvement from a slight 0.1 percent gain in August and the best gain since March. It's a closely watched indicator as consumer spending drives about 70 percent of the nation's economic activity.
AP Business Writer Pan Pylas contributed to this story from London. More online
Hurricane Sandy forced a rare closure of the New York Stock Exchange something that hasn't happened since 1985. Here's a historic look at wild weather that's kept traders off the floor. Storm leads companies to postpone earnings reports
A number of major U.S. companies postponed quarterly earnings Monday, with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast and the first unplanned shutdown of financial markets since 2001.
Pfizer Inc., Thomson Reuters Corp. and NRG Energy Inc. are among those holding financial reports until later this week. Pfizer, Avon Products Inc. and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., which were due to report Tuesday, will announce results Thursday. Thomson Reuters, also originally scheduled for Tuesday, will report Friday. NRG and McGraw-Hill Cos. will also report on Friday instead of Wednesday.
Companies delaying their announcements:
Power provider Entergy Corp. will report on Nov. 5 instead of Tuesday.
Biopharmaceutical Acorda Therapeutics Inc. will report results on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
Maintenance products distributor MSC Industrial Direct Co. will report results on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
Mortgage insurer Radian Group Inc. will report earnings on Thursday instead of Tuesday.
Rudolph Technologies Inc., a provider of process characterization equipment and software for wafer fabs and advanced packaging facilities, will report results on Wednesday instead of Monday.
Satellite radio provider Sirius XM Radio Inc. will report earnings on Thursday instead of Tuesday.
Commercial mortgage real estate investment trust Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc. will report on Thursday instead of Tuesday.
Office Depot Inc. will report on Nov. 6 instead of Tuesday.
A half dozen other companies also announced that they were postponing their earnings announcements.
Other companies, including Burger King Worldwide Inc. and MasterCard Inc., are reporting as planned. Luggage maker Tumi Holdings Inc. said it will report its third-quarter results on Monday, but canceled its scheduled conference call because of Sandy.
Flooring and ceiling maker Armstrong World Industries Inc. posted its third-quarter results, but said it would reschedule its conference call to a later date.
Liberty Mutual Holding Co. canceled its conference call scheduled for Tuesday and said its financial results will be available on its web site as soon as possible.
The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and CME Group in Chicago will remain closed Monday and appears increasingly likely, Tuesday. Trading on the NYSE was last closed on Sept. 11, 2001, and last closed for a weather related event in 1985, for Hurricane Gloria.
If the exchange does remain closed Tuesday, it would be the first weather-related consecutive-day closing since 1888, when a blizzard left drifts of snow as high as 40 feet.
Those conditions are expected to worsen over the next two days as a combination of factors causes the storm surge to increase.