Delayed Stock Market Opening Is Prudent

On Monday, we will have better liquidity and calmer nerves.
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We shouldn't open the stock market until we are good and ready. The fact that the U.S. stock market will be closed until Monday is appropriate and prudent, under the circumstances. We don't need to rush the opening, prompting people to do rash things.

Here's the reality: The more people that are at their desks when equity markets open, the more liquidity we will have. A good market needs maximum participants. A weak market, one with too few players that can be taken down on nothing, can create havoc.

Let's not confuse resolve with the number of downtime days. Resolve comes from tracking down and punishing those who commit terrorism, not from endangering Wall Street workers or from impeding the firefighters, police and emergency workers from doing their job. If we find one more missing person because we didn't trade Friday, that's a win, not a loss.

Opening the markets on Friday would cause too much knee-jerk selling with no positive tradeoff. The market was headed down the day before this disaster. We don't need to hasten it by having people sell and to go into cash because they don't feel that the institutions in which they have their money are safe. The only thing we really need is liquidity and the bond market can provide that. It is not necessary for the equity market to do so.

If, by Monday, we will know that everything is working and in fine shape, people can make a much better determination whether panic-selling makes sense. It won't, in any case. But that will be easier to see on Monday than it would be tomorrow, when we are still worried about buildings falling and digging people out of rubble.

James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to

jjcletters@thestreet.com.