UPDATE: Veterans Day: Why stock and bond markets will be open for first time since 2006

11/10/17 02:28 PM EST

By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch

Which stock and bond markets are closed? None!

Veterans Day, intended to pay homage to U.S. military servicewomen and men, falls on a Saturday in 2017. As a result, the bond market, traditionally closed on the federal holiday, will be open on Friday.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, known as Sifma, isn't recommending that bond markets close in observance of Veterans Day this year, marking the first time in more than a decade that bond traders won't have a day off in observance of the occasion.

Here's why:

"Sifma generally bases our fixed-income market closure recommendations on the New York Federal Reserve's holiday schedule. There is no market closure recommendation for Veterans Day 2017, consistent with historical practices," Sifma spokeswoman Emily Reinus wrote in an email.

Traders of assets like 10-year Treasury notes and 30-year Treasury didn't observe Veterans Day during the regular workweek in 2006 and before that in 2000 (https://www.sifma.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/misc-us-historical-holiday-market-recommendations-sifma.pdf), when the holiday also fell on a Saturday.

Veterans Day used to be celebrated by stock and bond markets alike, starting as far back as 1938 (some put the date back to 1921). Back in 1938, Veterans Day was declared a legal holiday to be celebrated on Nov. 11, known as Armistice Day.

Over the years, the date has shifted. That is one possible reason why observation of the holiday by the market is so spotty. Veterans Day hasn't exactly been a day set in stone, nor has it received the sort of treatment conferred upon other federal holidays over the years.

Armistice Day fluctuated at the start: a celebration of World War I veterans and a dedication "to the cause of world peace," according to military.com's website (http://www.military.com/veterans-day).

In 1954, the term "Armistice" was replaced with "Veterans" by the U.S. Congress, in recognition of veterans of World War II and the Korean War. Nov 11 was maintained as the designated day.

In 1968, under the so-called Uniforms Holiday Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October.

Another change shortly followed. In 1975, President Gerald Ford moved the holiday back to Nov. 11 starting in 1978, which stands today. That means the day on which the holiday is observed shifts, sometimes occurring outside of the regular workweek, as it does this week.

However, money never sleeps, at least in stocks, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average , S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index pushing to new heights. So, it may be the case that stock markets, which are increasingly being traded on lightning-quick platforms, don't have time for a break.

The market used to observe Veterans Day with a brief two-minute shutdown from 1954 to 2006, but that ended in 2007.

Other markets that are open on Veterans Day are currency and commodity markets.

-Mark DeCambre; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-10-17 1428ET

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