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Presidents Day or Washington’s Birthday? Is the stock market open?


U.S. financial markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Presidents Day, or Washington’s Birthday, if you prefer.

The Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

-owned New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq

will be closed on Feb. 21. And the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or Sifma, has recommended no trading in dollar-denominated securities.

That means there will be no trading in the closely watched 10-year Treasury note

—as well as rates markets, including money markets and certificates of deposit — and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
the S&P 500 index

 and the Nasdaq Composite Index

The market closure comes as investors are watching rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, as investors also brace for a regime of higher interest rates as the U.S. Federal Reserve combats COVID-induced inflation.

Read: Here’s the technology being used to watch Russian troops as Ukraine invasion fears linger

With those twin issues looming, Presidents Day may give investors some time to gather themselves amid turbulent times in financial markets.

Presidents Day, meanwhile, also has a choppy history.

Congress declared George Washington’s birthday a holiday in 1879, according to the Library of Congress. The republic’s first president was born on Feb. 22, 1732.

The holiday was at first only celebrated within the District of Columbia but became widely recognized as a federal holiday in 1885, marking the first time an American individual was memorialized via a bank holiday.

The Uniform Holidays Act of 1968 changed the day of commemoration to the third Monday of February. The Library of Congress’s website says that the day’s designation was never changed to Presidents Day formally but is often referred to by that name because Feb. 12 is the birthday of the 16th U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln.

The holiday is still often referred to as Washington’s Birthday, as it is by the NYSE.

It is that history of recognizing, initially, one president and then, later, two presidents, or the presidency in general, that may be to blame for the style variations that tend to occur in written references to Presidents Day — or alternately, President’s Day or Presidents’ Day.

Presidents Day is the preferred style for such journalistic standard setters as the Associated Press Stylebook (whose Twitter account tends to tweet a reminder annually) and The Wall Street Journal’s style guide.


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