New York Stock Exchange to move to online trading after two brokers test positive for coronavirus

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An unidentified man wears a facial mask early Wednesday morning, March 18, 2020 on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange in the financial district area. A pair of positive coronavirus tests is forcing the New York Stock Exchange to temporarily close its historic trading floor and move fully to electronic trading.

An unidentified man wears a facial mask early Wednesday morning, March 18, 2020 on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange in the financial district area. A pair of positive coronavirus tests is forcing the New York Stock Exchange to temporarily close its historic trading floor and move fully to electronic trading. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS)

A pair of positive coronavirus tests is forcing the New York Stock Exchange to temporarily close its historic trading floor and move fully to electronic trading.

The NYSE had set up medical screenings at its Big Board earlier this week. It was there that two brokers tested positive for the COVID-19 virus that is wreaking havoc on the world and its financial markets.

All-electronic trading will begin on March 23 at the open, the exchange said. The facilities to be closed are the NYSE equities trading floor and NYSE American Options trading floor in New York, and NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco.

The stock market has closed at times over the years, such as during World War II and in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

But this is the first time the physical trading floor of the Big Board has ever shut independently while electronic trading continues.

The new strategy takes effect on March 23.

“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 NYSE President Stacey Cunningham.

“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.”

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 6.3% to end the day at 19,898.92, its first close below 20,000 since February 2017. The S&P 500 closed down 5.18% at 2,398.10. Both indexes are now about 30% off their all-time highs.

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