Behind the scenes of the attack that brought down the Twin Towers in New York, collapsed stock exchanges and changed markets forever

SAO PAULO – One of the worst terrorist attacks in history completes 20 years this Saturday (11). When two Boeing 767 planes hit the towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, the world stopped. Wall Street Stock Exchanges were closed at the time of the attack and never even opened—they were kept that way for a week. In Brazil, Bovespa (currently B3) saw its main index, the Ibovespa, melt. Trading was interrupted at 1:15 am after the opening of the trading session and did not return until the following day.

Remember here the events of one of the most memorable days in history, which forever changed the way global markets work, and listen above to the first episode of Os Pregões que Maderam História, the podcast of InfoMoney that chronicles behind the scenes of unforgettable days for investors. You can follow and listen to the show through Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, Deezer, Apple Podcats (iTunes), Castbox and Podchaser. If you prefer, download the episode by clicking here.

“My main concern was to reassure the market. I sent everyone to call dealers to let us know that we would not allow liquidity to run out,” said Luiz Fernando Figueiredo, who at the time was the director of monetary policy at the Central Bank and is now CEO of Mauá Capital. “Afterwards we managed to talk to Bovespa so that it would not be closed, it went back into operation the next day, it was one of the few exchanges in the world that did this, but this was very important.”

At the trading desks, the faces of traders were bleak — and the lack of clear information about the scale of the attacks worsened the market’s reaction. “We were in the third basement of Bovespa, in a windowless room. The trading floor director, when he saw that it was something big, immediately began to manifest himself and ordered the entire TV circuit to be turned on so that we could see what was happening. I saw colleagues calling home to ask to pick up their children from school, it could be a world war,” said Douglas Ramos, who at the time worked at BGC Liquidez, one of the largest brokerages in the market.

When Wall Street Exchanges reopened on Sept. 17, 2001, the Dow Jones was down 7.1%, the Nasdaq Composite was down 6.8% and the S&P 500 lost 4.9%. Here in Brazil, the day after the attacks, the former Bovespa reopened and rose 2.64%, with the shares returning the strong losses of the previous session, when 46 Ibovespa shares had reached their minimum quotations in the last 12 months.

About the podcast

The Auctions that Made History is a podcast of InfoMoney, released a year ago, which tells the backstage of emblematic days for the markets, whether by a drastic fall or a shot, through the voice of those who were there — or of those who know a lot about the subject. It airs every week, always on Fridays.

The Collor Plan and the saving freeze in 1990, the change to a floating exchange rate and the maxi-devaluation of the real in 1999, the grade do Brasil in 2008, the subprime crisis that same year that collapsed markets around the world, the Joesley Day and the betrayal of the Batista brothers in 2017. These and many other important moments for the Brazilian stock exchange are in the series.

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