New York Stock Exchange Traders Return to the Floor

The NYSE partially reopens and President Stacey Cunningham says the exchange will be careful about opening up further.
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The New York Stock Exchange trading floor partially reopened Tuesday after shutting down March 23.

The exchange closed in reaction to workers getting infected with coronavirus.

Under the rules of the reopening, just 80 or so floor brokers are working at the NYSE, about 25% of the total prior to the pandemic.

Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell to applause at the exchange. 

TheStreet's Jim Cramer said on CNBC that the partial nature of the reopening detracted from the buzz.

“The excitement of the place is the closed-quarters and the noise,” he said. “You don’t get that with social distancing.”

Still, the reopening may spark stock purchases, Cramer said. “People can say I feel like buying,” he said. “I myself like tons of stocks, but I’m respectful of the ability of nature to come back. But people are sick of it, and when you’re sick of it, you buy stocks.”

Cramer noted that some financially troubled companies, like Gap  (GPS) - Get Report were rising. “But what about earnings?” he asked. He does like some oil stocks, including Chevron  (CVX) - Get Report, because he sees oil prices moving higher.

NYSE President Stacey Cunningham was pleased to see the reopening. 

“It feels great, it’s a great start,” she said in an interview with CNBC. “But this certainly isn’t a return to normal.”

Further expansion depends on “conditions and protections,” Cunningham said. “We need to protect ourselves.” The exchange’s policies, including a focus on wearing masks and social distancing, is meant to protect people on the floor, she said.

The exchange suffered from the absence of floor brokers, Cunningham said. “Trade didn’t function quite as smoothly without people involved. You lose the human judgement that can narrow volatility.”

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