It had been expected that the stock exchanges would close out of respect for the 38th president. Financial markets have traditionally closed for presidential funerals, the last time being the burial of President Ronald Reagan in June 2004.
Wall Street's closing on the day of a national funeral dates back to the burial of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1885. However, the NYSE has sometimes traded on a shortened schedule during a presidential funeral — the last time, for Herbert Hoover's funeral in 1964.
There was some speculation the exchanges, uneasy about closing for four straight days including the weekend, would try to have at least some stock trading on Tuesday. The last time Wall Street was closed this long was following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, when there was no trading for six days, including a weekend.
One of the concerns is that U.S. investors would be unable to execute trades following market-moving political events in other countries.
Piper Jaffray Analyst Joshua Elving, who covers the NYSE and Nasdaq, said the closing would have minimal impact on the exchanges themselves.
"This is a really slow time of the year to begin with, the fact of the matter is there wouldn't necessarily be a lot of activity on the 2nd," Elving said. "It's a great reason to extend your holiday one day."
Other U.S. financial markets planned at least partial closings Tuesday.
The New York Mercantile Exchange said it will close its trading floor, but electronic trading would be open. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange said it will close commodities and equity markets all day, but will open until noon for foreign exchange and interest rates on both its trading floor and electronic trading system. The CME will reopen electronic trading at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday for Wednesday trades.
Trading at the Chicago Board of Trade will be closed except for the Treasury market, because of a regularly scheduled bond auction that will keep the market open until noon. Certain electronic markets will open Monday evening and Tuesday evening but will close during regular business hours Tuesday.
Bond markets were expected to have a shortened day, closing at 2 p.m. EST.
The NYSE, Nasdaq and New York Mercantile Exchange all observed moments of silence Wednesday in memory of Ford. Traders at the NYSE and NYMEX stood in silence on the trading floors for two minutes. And, the Nasdaq — which is an electronic exchange — asked traders to refrain from making any transactions during that time.
Ford died at his Rancho Mirage, Calif., home on Tuesday at age 93.