COVID-19

What all-electronic trading means for the New York Stock Exchange

Justin Ho Mar 23, 2020
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images
COVID-19

What all-electronic trading means for the New York Stock Exchange

Justin Ho Mar 23, 2020
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Starting today, the New York Stock Exchange’s trading floors are temporarily closed. Trading will continue during normal hours, but it will happen electronically. That means all those bustling traders you see on TV and in photos won’t be working on the trading floor.

The NYSE says it’s run plenty of tests and that its markets are fully capable of operating electronically. But NYSE President Stacey Cunningham says the market will be missing something.

“A computer doesn’t apply judgment quite the way people do,” she said.

For instance, when human traders meet on the floor and agree on a fair closing price, Cunningham says those prices tend to be more stable.

On their own, computers can cause prices to fluctuate.

“You want to know that when you bought or sold something, the price doesn’t rapidly change to a totally new value afterwards,” Cunningham said.

Electronic trading isn’t new. The NASDAQ is already a fully electronic exchange.

But Justin Schack at Rosenblatt Securities says the NYSE’s human traders have stepped in to stabilize markets when there have been software glitches, or during a financial crisis.

“In times of stress, it’s very important to have human beings involved and actively engaged in the trading process,” he said.

And with market volatility reaching levels we haven’t seen since 2008, Schack says, yes, this is a time when markets are stressed.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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