) -- Excluding skiiers and sleigh riders, this was a far from perfect storm for Wall Street.

Between the blizzard's beginnings just before noon Sunday (right in time to spark the pre-emptive cancellation of hundreds of flights home) to its persistence in many places through Monday morning's nightmare commute, the storm seemed to be doing its best to keep trading to a minimum.

When the closing bell sounded Monday at 4 p.m. ET, volume at the

New York Stock Exchange

concluded at around 467 million, roughly a third of its usual churn. The

Nasdaq Stock Market

saw just 1.1 billion shares change hands.

As usual,


(C) - Get Report

was the most active issue on the Big Board with 284 million shares in play. While that number accounted for 61% of the volume on the NYSE, the action was still well under Citigroup's trailing three-month daily average of 553 million.

For comparison, on Dec. 28, 2009, the first day of trading following last year's Christmas holiday (which occurred on a Friday), the NYSE saw volume of 952.5 million. And Monday's full-session volume barely topped the 423.6 million shares that traded in last year's shortened Christmas Eve session with its 1 p.m. ET close.

The last session in which fewer than 1 billion shares traded on the NYSE was Black Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving. Only 605.3 million shares traded that day, but again, the market closed at 1 p.m. that day.

Given that Friday was a market holiday and how well December has shaped up already, many Wall Street players may have been planning to take it easy this week anyway. A peek out the window Monday morning may have sealed the deal, and given the sidewalks full of snow and children home from school, it could end up keeping traders on the sidelines until 2011.


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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