NYSE Prepares for First All-Computer Trading Day in History as Coronavirus Closes Iconic Wall Street Floor

Floor traders have dealt stocks on the NYSE floor for 117 years, but coronavirus concerns will keep them at home, and the computers in charge, for the first time in history Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange will conduct all of its business electronically Monday, marking the first time traders will be absent from the floor in its 117 year history.  

The Intercontinental Exchange  (ICE) - Get Report, which owns the NYSE, said last eek it would close the trading floor after one of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Trading hours will remain the same, the NYSE said, with circuit breakers halting activity if markets fall more than 7% on the session, and again in the event of a 13% slump, during most of the trading day.

ICE;s NYSE American Options trading floor, as well as its NYSE Arca Options exchange in San Francisco, will also move to computer-only trading starting Monday.

"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. 

Floor trading on the NYSE, which was established in 1792, first began on April 22, 1903 at 18 Broad Street, but electronic trading only began in the 1960s following a "backroom" crisis that saw support teams overwhelmed by the paperwork generated from floor traders. 

The NYSE was last closed for trading in late October 2012, when Superstorm Sandy slammed the east coast and flooded parts of lower Manhattan. It was also shut down for four days following the terrorist attacks of 9.11. 

Earlier this month, the CME Group, which operates facilities at the Chicago Board of Trade, closed its trading floors as a precaution to "educe large gatherings that can contribute to the spread of coronavirus in line with the advice of medical professionals."