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Jan. 20, 2020, 11:10 a.m. EST

A brief history of stock-market closures on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Day honoring the U.S. civil-rights leader is traditionally observed on the third Monday in January

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By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch


AFP/Getty Images
The civil-rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. waves to supporters on Aug. 28, 1963, on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

U.S. stock and bond markets are closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, coming as Wall Street absorbs a record-setting run-up for equities.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association , or Sifma, recommends that bond markets be closed, including trading in the dollar-denominated 10-year Treasury note /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y +0.30% and markets in the U.K. and Japan. Meanwhile, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq exchange are closed for the federal holiday.

Meanwhile, on the U.S. commodities markets, there will be no regular trading or settlements, including Nymex crude oiland Comex-traded gold /zigman2/quotes/210035396/delayed GCG20 -0.18% . Energy and metals products will be fully open for electronic trading at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Monday for a Tuesday trade date.

However, Brent oil /zigman2/quotes/209704782/delayed UK:BRN00 -1.31% , the international benchmark, on ICE Futures Europe, conduct regular trading Monday.

The King holiday comes as the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -3.15% , the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -3.03% and the Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -2.77% indexes have been carving out records on a near-daily basis in 2020. The Dow and S&P 500 are up a brisk 2.8% in the first three weeks of the year, and the Nasdaq has gained more than 4%.

The day honoring the civil-rights leader is traditionally observed on the third Monday in January and commemorates the life of King, who was born Jan. 15, 1929, and assassinated at a Memphis, Tenn., motel on the evening of April 4, 1968.

A market closure for King’s birthday is a relatively new development. When the holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and officially established in 1986, the NYSE and other major exchanges remained open, observing a minute of silence at noon.

It wasn’t until Jan. 19, 1998 , that the NYSE and Nasdaq first said they would take the full day off.

Although U.S. markets will be closed, in Europe, as reflected in the Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -1.25% and the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.66% and market benchmarks in China, like the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.83% , indexes are being operated normally.

Myra P. Saefong contributed to this article.

/zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime
add Add to watchlist BX:TMUBMUSD10Y
BX : Tullett Prebon
1.36
+0.0041 +0.30%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2020 5:45a
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/zigman2/quotes/210035396/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 1,644.00
-2.90 -0.18%
Volume: 30.00
Feb. 25, 2020 8:53p
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/zigman2/quotes/209704782/delayed
UK : U.K. ICE Futures Europe
$ 53.55
-0.71 -1.31%
Volume: 108,708
Feb. 26, 2020 10:36a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
27,081.36
-879.44 -3.15%
Volume: 513.27M
Feb. 25, 2020 4:59p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,128.21
-97.68 -3.03%
Volume: 3.13B
Feb. 25, 2020 4:59p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
8,965.61
-255.67 -2.77%
Volume: 3.07M
Feb. 25, 2020 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
399.53
-5.07 -1.25%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 26, 2020 11:31a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
6,971.29
-46.59 -0.66%
Volume: 253,993
Feb. 26, 2020 10:31a
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/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
2,987.93
-25.12 -0.83%
Volume: 46.90B
Feb. 26, 2020 3:01p
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Mark DeCambre is MarketWatch's markets editor. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @mdecambre.

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