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NYSE closes its trading floors amid corona pandemic

The New York Stock Exchange will close its trading floor on Monday, March 23 and fully move to electronic trading, the exchange’s operator Intercontinental Exchange announced today.

The actual physical locations that will close are the NYSE equities trading floor in New York, the NYSE American Options trading floor in New York and the NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco.

The organization says it took this step as a precautionary step to protect the health of traders and employees on the floor. So far, two people who worked on the floor have tested positive for COVID-19, though they hadn’t been in the building this week, Stacey Cunningham, president of the New York Stock Exchange, said on CNBC today.

“NYSE’s trading floors provide unique value to issuers and investors, but our markets are fully capable of operating in an all-electronic fashion to serve all participants, and we will proceed in that manner until we can re-open our trading floors to our members,” said Cunningham in the announcement. “While we are taking the precautionary step of closing the trading floors, we continue to firmly believe the markets should remain open and accessible to investors. All NYSE markets will continue to operate under normal trading hours despite the closure of the trading floors.”

This shouldn’t have any real influence on how the stock market functions. Outside of the United States, there are few traditional trading floors left and electronic trading already accounts for the vast majority of trades anyway. Nasdaq, too, is a fully electronic stock exchange. The NYSE does note that there are some floor broker order types that will be unavailable, though, and didn’t provide any guidance for when it expects to reopen the trading floor.

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