New York Stock Exchange to temporarily close trading floors amid Covid-19 concerns

The exchange is shifting to electronic trading from March 23

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. U.S. equities swung between gains and losses as investors digested fresh evidence of the widening coronavirus outbreak. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
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The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will temporarily close its trading floors and shift to a fully electronic mode starting March 23, as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak, exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange said. However, trading and regulatory oversight of all NYSE-listed securities will continue without interruption.

“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 Stacey Cunningham, president of the New York Stock Exchange in a statement on Wednesday.

“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.”

The facilities to be closed comprise the NYSE equities trading floor in New York, NYSE American Options trading floor in New York, and NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco. The NYSE closed for four days after the September 11 attacks and two days after Hurricane Sandy.

The "NYSE has robust, regularly tested contingency plans in place to initiate fully electronic trading on its exchanges that have physical trading floors," Intercontinental Exchange said late Wednesday.

“On the NYSE’s equities market, the Exchange’s Designated Market Makers will connect to the exchange electronically to provide liquidity in their stocks, however floor broker order types will be unavailable,” it added.

In the UAE, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) as well as Dubai Financial Market also announced closing of trading floors as a preventive measure against the coronavirus outbreak earlier this week.

Governments and central banks around the world have stepped up efforts to minimise the impact of the deadly coronavirus on their economies. The outbreak, which began in China, has now engulfed Europe and North America. Covid-19 has infected close to 220,000 people with nearly 9,000 deaths. More than 84,000 have recovered.

However, China reported no new cases of Covid-19 in Hubei for the first time since the outbreak began in December.

The coronavirus, the biggest challenge to the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis, has disrupted trade, the travel industry and rattled investors. At least $17 trillion (Dh62.4tn) have been wiped from stock markets worldwide and general consensus is the US will slide into a recession.