Venues may close. Trading should remain open

INSOFAR AS STOCK exchanges used to worry about viruses, it was of the type that infect the computers through which virtually all trading is done. But on March 18th the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) became the latest venue to announce that its trading floors would close in response to the covid-19 disease, and that trading would become fully electronic from March 23rd. Such closures, amid extreme market volatility, may add to calls that all securities dealings should be suspended in response to the pandemic. But Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE, was not alone when she insisted that markets should stay open. With the world scrambling for cash, it would be the height of foolishness to shut off access to the capital markets.

Some markets have come perilously close to a prolonged shut down. On March 17th the Manila stock exchange was suspended as part of a lockdown on the main Luzon island. But amid fears of a backlash from investors, stock trading has resumed.

In America Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, has mulled over the possibility of shortening trading hours, though he insists markets should stay open so savers can access their stockmarket holdings. Terry Duffy, the boss of CME group, a derivatives exchange, said cutting back trading time “makes no sense ... especially during this unprecedented crisis...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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