NYSE to close floor and shift to e-trading on Monday after two coronavirus cases
The New York Stock Exchange. /VCG

The New York Stock Exchange. /VCG

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will temporarily close its trading floors and move fully to electronic trading from Monday, its owner, Intercontinental Exchange Inc, said after an employee and a trader tested positive for the coronavirus.

All electronic trading will begin with Monday's market open, the exchange said in a statement, adding the decision to temporarily close the trading floors is a precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of employees in response to COVID-19.

"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. All NYSE markets will continue to operate under normal trading hours despite the closure of the trading floors," Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE, said in the statement.

The facilities to be closed include the equities and American options trading floors in New York and the Arca options trading floor in San Francisco.

Trading and regulatory oversight of all NYSE-listed securities will continue without interruption, the company said.

"Our markets are fully capable of operating in an all-electronic fashion ... and we will proceed in that manner until we can re-open our trading floors to our members," Cunningham said.

Separately, in a letter to employees, Intercontinental Chief Operating Officer Michael Blaugrund asked staff feeling "even mildly ill" to stay at home.

The outbreak, which has killed over 100 people in the United States, has created panic and forced several businesses and local governments to take action to limit the spread of the virus. 

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has topped 7,000 by 1 p.m. local time Wednesday (1700 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

(With input from Reuters and Xinhua)