All stock markets in the United States are closed on Monday and Tuesday because of Hurricane Sandy.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is open, but some government bond trading was rescheduled.
The BBC reports it was the first time in 27 years the stock markets have closed for a full day due to the weather.
Hurricane Gloria forced a market shutdown in September 1985.
World shares and commodities fell as a recent run of downbeat corporate reports cast a shadow over the economic growth outlook and markets awaited the impact of the hurricane.
In Europe: the CAC-40 in Paris was down 26 points or 0.8%, the DAX in Frankfurt was down 28 points or 0.4% and the FTSE 1200 London was down 11 points or 0.2%.
Insurance companies were among the big fallers due to hurricane costs worries, while energy stocks were dented by a drop in crude prices as refineries along the eastern seaboard closed.
Airline shares fell because of concerns over flight disruptions.
Across the Tasman, the Australian 200 Index closed on Monday up 4 points to 4,477. The NZX50 index fell 32 points, or 0.8%, to close at 3951.
The New Zealand dollar on Tuesday morning was trading at 81.84 US cents, 79.22 Australian cents, 51.07 pence, 65.3 yen and 0.6345 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 73.16.
Brent crude oil was trading at $US109.76 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1708.20 per ounce.