Pedestrians wearing face masks walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, the United States, on March 18, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
NEW YORK, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) said Wednesday it will temporarily close its trading floors and move to fully electronic trading due to the coronavirus outbreak.
All-electronic trading will begin on March 23 at the open, the exchange said in a statement, adding the decision to temporarily close the trading floors represents a precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of employees and the floor community in response to COVID-19.
"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," Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE, said in the statement.
The closure was in part as a result of positive coronavirus tests of two people, CNBC reported Wednesday, citing Cunningham.
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.
Volatile trading has been a norm for U.S. equities these days amid the coronavirus crisis. The Dow on Wednesday dipped more than 1,300 points to 19,898.92, marking its first close below 20,000 since February 2017. The S&P 500 tumbled 7 percent in the early afternoon, triggering a key circuit breaker that halted trading for 15 minutes.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States had topped 7,000 by 1 p.m. local time Wednesday (1700 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.