New York Stock Exchange to close trading floors, fully move to electronic trading

( NYSE via FOX )

As the novel coronavirus global pandemic widens and worsens, the New York Stock Exchange is closing its iconic trading floor in Manhattan as well as two others and will move to fully electronic trading on Monday, March 23, its operator announced on Wednesday.

The NYSE equities trading floor and NYSE American Options trading floor, both in New York City, and the NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco will close, according to Intercontinental Exchange.

"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," NYSE President Stacey Cunningham said in a statement. "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."

The markets will operate under normal trading hours even though the physical trading floors will be closed. 

Although the image of the stock exchange's trading floor in popular culture is of a crowded, chaotic, and loud environment, those days ended in the 1990s as most trading moved away from that model to online operations. These days, the trading floor has only a few hundred brokers and designated market makers.

"On the NYSE’s equities market, the Exchange’s Designated Market Makers will connect to the exchange electronically to provide liquidity in their stocks, however floor broker order types will be unavailable," the NYSE said in a statement. "On the NYSE’s options markets, electronic trading will continue normally but open-outcry trading will be suspended with the closure of the options trading floors."

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