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Stock Markets Set to Reopen; Businesses Could Lose $30 Billion

Updated from 5:10 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock markets will open Wednesday after Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast, flooding lower Manhattan and shuttering trading for two days.

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq said equity, bond, options and derivatives trading will begin trading as usual. It was the longest weather-related shutdown in more than 100 years. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks closed the markets for a week.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg is expected to ring the opening bell on Wednesday.

Stock futures were signaling Wall Street would open higher on Wednesday. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.5% to 13,115. The index closed at 13,107 on Friday, the last day of trading before the storm.

Despite widespread flooding in lower Manhattan, where Wall Street is located, the New York Stock Exchange "building and trading floor are fully operational," the NYSE said in a statement. The Nasdaq released a similar press briefing.

Monday's closure marked the first time trading had been suspended for an entire day because of weather since Sept. 27, 1985, when Hurricane Gloria struck.

Sandy was expected to cause about $20 billion in property damage and another $10 billion to $30 billion in lost business, according to data given to the AP by forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.

President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in New York and Long Island, which bore the brunt of the sea surge from the superstorm that hit the East Coast on Monday. The president also declared major disasters in New Jersey, West Virginia and Virginia.

The U.S. death toll rose to 40 following Sandy's destruction across the East Coast, according to the Associated Press. More than 8.2 million people were without power across the region.

Airlines canceled more than 15,000 flights around the world, and it could be days before airline companies reschedule passengers whose flights were canceled because of the storm, according to the AP.

Weather warnings and watches remained in effect throughout much of the East Coast. Flood and coastal flood watches and warnings were in effect from the mid-Atlantic to Northeast states. Blizzard warnings remained in effect through high elevations of the central Appalachians.

Obama spoke Tuesday at the Red Cross in Washington D.C. and warned Americans that the storm was not yet finished.

"America is with you. We are standing behind you, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet," the president said.

Obama will visit the Jersey shore on Wednesday, just six days before the presidential election. Boardwalks at the beach had been washed away and fires were still smoldering, according to local reports. Millions of residents across New Jersey remain without power. Seven died in the state.

Mitt Romney will resume campaign rallies on Wednesday as he makes a swing through Tampa, Coral Gables and Jacksonville -- three major Florida cities that will play a pivotal role in the election next week.

Lower Manhattan, where the New York Stock Exchange floor is located, was still largely without power Tuesday after energy company Con Edison (ED) shut off most of the electricity in the area to protect electrical equipment from the massive storm surge of salt water caused by Sandy.

In the event that there was any unexpected damage that could keep the floor closed, the NYSE had a contingency plan to make its Arca electronic market the primary market for companies listed on its exchange, according to Bloomberg.

While some bus service resumed and some bridges reopened at midday Tuesday, transit officials said they couldn't predict when the subway would run again. It suffered the worst damage in its 108-year history, according to officials.

Before 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, the storm made landfall along the coast of southern New Jersey. The storm's maximum sustained winds hit 75 miles per hour and the system's movement slowed to 18 miles per hour, according to an update at 11 p.m. on Monday. It had previously been moving at 28 miles per hour before making landfall.

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