16:40 GMT08 April 2020
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    The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will temporarily close its trading floor and move to electronic trading as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    All-electronic trading will begin with Monday's market opening, according to a report by CNBC. The floors that will close include the "NYSE equities trading floor in New York, NYSE American Options trading floor in New York and the NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco."

    In a Wednesday statement, Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE, confirmed the news: "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."

    “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," Cunningham added.

    According to CNBC, the decision to temporarily close the NYSE floor was made after employees at the Big Board tested positive for the coronavirus. This week, the NYSE had also started medically testing people entering its trading floor, CNBC reported.

    “We implemented a number a number of safety precautions over the past couple of weeks, and starting on Monday this week we started pre-emptive testing of employees and screening of anyone who came into the building. If that screening warranted additional testing, we tested people and they were sent home and not given access to the building. A couple of those test cases have come back positive," Cunningham explained.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1,338.46 points Wednesday afternoon, while the Nasdaq Composite decreased by 344.94 points. The S&P 500 also slipped by 131.09 points by market closing In addition, oil prices plummeted by nearly 17%, hitting the lowest level in 18 years. These stumbles occurred even after US President Donald Trump announced his economic stimulus package to soften the coronavirus's impact on the US economy.

    The US Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to pass legislation to expand paid leave and provide unemployment insurance to the American public amid the deadly pandemic.

    The legislation would provide free testing for the virus and allocate additional funding for government nutrition assistance programs and unemployment insurance. Under the legislation, small businesses would be able to offer two weeks of paid sick leave to employees.

    Trump on Wednesday also invoked the Defense Production Act, which will allow civilian businesses to help produce products necessary for national defense. He also announced that Department of Housing and Urban Development would be "providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April."

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