NYSE Temporarily Closed Floor and Then Moved to Electronic Trading After Positive Wuhan Virus Tests

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, announced that it will temporarily close its world famous trading floor and transition towards electronic trading after two people tested positive for the Wuhan virus at screenings it held this week.

According to the exchange, all-electronic trading will commence on March 23. The facilities that will be closing are the NYSE equities trading floor and NYSE American Options trading floor in New York. Additionally, the NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco will be closing.

These closures were spurred by positive Wuhan virus tests of two people, according to an account Stacey Cunningham, President of the NYSE, related to CNBC.

The stock market has a history of closures, during events such as World War II and in the aftermath of 9/11, but this is the first time the physical trading floor of the Big Board has shut down independently as electronic trading proceeds.

“We implemented a number a number of safety precautions over the past couple of weeks, and starting on Monday this week we started pre-emptive testing of employees and screening of anyone who came into the building,” Cunningham announced on “Closing Bell.” “If that screening warranted additional testing, we tested people and they were sent home and not given access to the building. A couple of those test cases have come back positive.”

“While those people were not in the building this week and the building had been cleaned and addressed prior to start of trading on Monday, I think it’s reflective we’re seeing things evolve,” Cunningham continued.

Wall Street has experienced considerable volatility during the Wuhan virus crisis. Earlier this week, a market-wide circuit breaker was set off twice by the NYSE due to the massive sell-off, which generated brief pauses in trading.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day under 20,000 for the first time since February 2017. This week, the  S&P 500 fell nearly 30% under a record set last month.

The exchange announced in a release that it was carrying out its business continuity plan and “trading and regulatory oversight of all NYSE-listed securities will continue without interruption.”

CME Group closed its Chicago trading floor last week as a precautionary measure due to the Wuhan virus outbreak.

As of Wednesday, the number of cases of the Wuhan virus reached over 212,000 and the confirmed cases in America are now at 7,324, per reports from John Hopkins University. So far, 115 people have died from the virus in the U.S.

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