NYSE reopens trading floor after two-month coronavirus closure

Andrew Cummings
May 28, 2020

How Will the NYSE Trading Floor Look During COVID-19?

New safety measures will require traders to wear masks and avoid public transportation, while plexiglass barriers have been erected to promote social distancing.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, New York is the worst-hit USA state by far, with more than 362,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and around 23,500 deaths.

The NYSE floor is the last physical USA stock trading venue, as a slew of all-electronic competitors have emerged and eaten away at the Big Board's once dominant market share.

But only a handful of brokers will be allowed on the floor - and they'll have to have their temperatures checked, wear face masks and follow social-distancing rules, NYSE president Stacey Cunningham has said.

Today, the New York Stock Exchange will reopen its iconic trading floor, giving bored traders a break from hawking Silly Bandz to their neighbors.

"These little baby steps that we start to see different states reopening, different policies that are being allowed that weren't allowed two weeks ago - these are all clear signals that we're moving in the right direction", said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners.

"We will respect the sacrifices of frontline workers and the city at large by proceeding cautiously, limiting the strain on the health-care system and the risk to those who work beneath our roof", Cunningham wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

While many share transactions now are executed through computers - enabling the market to function even when physical trade was halted - NYSE leaders say physical trading facilitates orders particularly in the final moments of the day, or during first trades of a new company following an initial public offering.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 2.2 per cent on the open, while the S&P 500 gained some 1.8 per cent, pushing it past the 3,000 point threshold for the first time since March.

Cuomo said he will be in Washington D.C. on Wednesday to meet with President Donald Trump and discuss possible federal engagement in this process.

NYSE Chief Commercial Officer John Tuttle said: 'The floor represents so much more than the several tens-of-thousands of square feet it occupies. But in the years since, the rise of electronic trading grew to dominate the action on Wall Street.

On Tuesday, however, the World Health Organization said that the world remains mired in only the first stage of the pandemic, putting a damper on hopes for a speedy global economic rebound. Europe has had about 170,000 deaths and the USA has seen almost 100,000. There is also some optimism about the race for a vaccine.

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