This video of a news conference in progress illustrates temporary pandemonium as a rare earthquake rocked all along the U.S. east coast and beyond.
The 5.9 magnitude quake forced the closure of buildings in New York, which meant an early end to the workday for some businesses.
Government buildings in Washington were emptied, as well.
But Wall Street trading was uninterrupted, with no evacuation at the NYSE.
As far as other businesses, air traffic in and out of major airports on the East Coast was temporarily halted.
Cell phone service for some service providers was spotty.
But activity at the 26 nuclear plants in the region was unaffected.
With the earthquake a temporary phenomenon, investors resumed focus on a big market upswing. The rally was fueled by hopes that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will reveal new tools to get the economy going in a speech later in the week.
Those hopes held up despite a bigger-than-expected drop in new home sales to a five-month low.
Pressure continues to mount against Bank of America. There are fears America’s biggest bank will have another massive write-down tied to mortgages, and may need additional capital. The stock fell to its lowest close since early 2009.
But that didn’t hold back Wall Street. Stocks posted solid gains led by a 4% rally for the Nasdaq.
Meanwhile, European investors had to digest word of more bank job cuts. UBS is slashing 3,500 jobs – almost half from the investment banking side.
Stocks in Frankfurt and Paris were up 1%, a smaller gain in London.
Bottom line: Wall Street surged on hopes that the Federal Reserve is working on another economic bandage… and not even a rare earthquake up and down the U.S. east coast was enough to tame the bulls.