- The coronavirus pandemic has roiled markets and slowed economic growth in the US and abroad.
- Calls to close markets have grown amid increased volatility.
- Still, authorities including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have said markets will remain open, though shorter hours are being explored.
- Some markets including Cboe, CME, and NYSE have moved or will move to electronic trading on a temporary basis to reduce large gatherings of people during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Here are six times the New York Stock Exchange has been closed for an extended period during other major market events, according to Reuters.
- Read more on Business Insider.
As restaurants, schools, and factories have been shuttered to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus pandemic, authorities are being pressured to close markets.
Markets have been roiled by the coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted global supply chains, sparked an oil price war, and spurred investor panic that emergency actions by the Federal Reserve and potential stimulus from the White House won’t be enough to stop severe damage to the US economy.
This week, the market’s fear gauge, called the VIX, hit highs not seen since the financial crisis in 2008. In addition, stocks have hit circuit breakers that have halted trading a number of times in recent days – both during regular trading and premarket hours.
That’s increased calls that markets should be closed in the near future, to combat volatility and investor panic amid the outbreak. While closing markets is exceptionally rare, it has been done in the past related to other major events.
On a Monday conference call with the new Bank of England governor, top asset managers said that financial markets should close for two weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Senior executives from Vanguard Group, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of New York Mellon participated in the call, but it was not certain which ones called for market closures.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday during a press conference at the White House that everyone wants markets to stay open.
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“We may get to a point where we shorten the hours if that’s something they need to do,” he said. “But Americans should know we are going to do everything to make sure that they have access to the money in their banks, to the money in their 401(k)s, and to the money in stocks.”
Others also disagree that shorter hours are the right call. “Financial markets are critical to managing risk and ensuring the resilience of the U.S. and global economies,” CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy said in a Tuesday statement.
“Shorter hours make no sense,” he said.
Still, some markets have taken precautions to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, Cboe Global Markets and CME Group said they would close trading floors as a precaution to reduce large gatherings of people. Trading will continue online for the time being. On Wednesday, the New York Stock Exchange, owned by Intercontinental Exchange, also said it would move to fully electronic trading on a temporary basis starting March 23.
Here are six times the New York Stock Exchange has been closed for one day or more, Reuters reported, confirmed by a person at the exchange. The events are listed in chronological order.
1. Blizzard of 1888
Days closed: March 12-13
2. The start of World War l
Days closed: July 31 to November 27
3. New York City blackout
Days closed: July 14
4. Hurricane Gloria
Days closed: September 27
5. Attack on World Trade Centre
Days closed: September 11-14
6. Hurricane Sandy
Days closed: October 29-30