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New York Stock Exchange prepares for potential closing of trading floor due to coronavirus

New York Stock Exchange prepares for potential closing of trading floor due to coronavirus
© UPI Photo

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) officials are preparing for the possibility of closing the trading floor and conducting all business electronically in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, NYSE officials cautioned that they were taking steps to avoid having to make such a decision, but were prepared to do so if needed.

“The NYSE is a unique meeting place for buying and selling securities,” the official said. “While we constantly test our resilient systems that allow us to operate that meeting place in a fully electronic fashion — which we did, successfully, as recently as last weekend — we are also taking the necessary measures to help ensure that our iconic trading floor remains open for business during this volatile period.”

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The news comes as stocks furthered their downward spiral over concerns about COVID-19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 10 percent of its value on Thursday, its worst day since 1987.

Recent photos of the NYSE trading floor show hand-sanitizing stations set up by officials in the hopes of preventing the disease's spread, while restrictions on outside visitors have also reportedly been put in place.

A decision to close the NYSE's trading floor would follow a similar decision from CME Group, which operates a futures exchange in Chicago that temporarily closed its trading floor this week.

The NYSE last closed its trading floor for two days in 2012 amid heavy flooding in Manhattan due to Hurricane Sandy.