Presidents Day: Everything you need to know about market closures on Washington’s Birthday

  • Written by MarketWatch
  • Published in Economics

U.S. financial markets will pause Monday in observance of Presidents Day — which, technically, is not the name of the holiday.

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will shutter on Feb. 18. And the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or Sifma, is recommending no trading in dollar-denominated securities, meaning the closely watched 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.00%[1] — as well as interest rates for money markets and certificates of deposit — joins the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.74%[2] , the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.09%[3] and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.61%[4] in a static state.

And trading in futures and options on CME Group exchanges will also be halted on Monday. In other words, there will be no settlements in trading in gold futures GCJ9, +0.57%[5] or crude oil CLH9, +0.85%[6] However, traders will be able to deal in commodities on the Globex platform, with a pause starting after 1 p.m. Eastern time[7].

So, here’s the skinny on so-called Presidents Day. Congress declared Washington’s Birthday a holiday in 1879, according to the Library of Congress[8]. The republic’s first president was born on Feb. 22, 1732.

A number of sources[9] indicate that 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[10] 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, and it is recognized...

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