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For the first time in 228 years, the New York Stock Exchange will open without its trading floor

March 22, 2020

For the first time in its 228-year history, the New York Stock Exchange will tomorrow open without its trading floor. The disruption is symbolic, underscoring how the new coronavirus has run riot through the world, though the floor closure itself will likely have little if any impact on the $28 trillion stock market.

Trading will be fully electronic when the bell rings and buying and selling starts at 9:30am New York time. Most of the action already took place in a data center, and now, temporarily, all of it will. Executives are shutting down the trading floor to protect employees and stop the spread of Covid-19 as New York is declared a major disaster.

Equity-market infrastructure has been a bright spot in this developing crisis,” said Justin Schack, managing director at Rosenblatt Securities, an institutional brokerage in New York. “The extraordinary economic impact and uncertainty associated with this pandemic have been driving volatility and volume to historic highs, and markets thus far have handled the stress very well.”

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