Bell Rings Again at New York Stock Exchange as Floor Reopens

NEW YORK—The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange reopened for the first time in two months with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ringing the iconic bell, but the controlled chaos was more subdued on May 26 under new pandemic rules.

The floor, known worldwide for an anarchic atmosphere with traders shouting orders over one another, has been closed since mid-March due to the outbreak caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

The NYSE says fewer traders will be on the floor at a given time for now in order to support six-feet social distancing requirements. They also must wear masks.

Anyone entering the Exchange at 11 Wall Street is also being asked to avoid public transportation and they will have their temperature taken before entry, said Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE.

New York Stock Exchange employees wait to enter the building as the trading floor partially reopens, N.Y., on May 26, 2020. (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)

“We will respect the sacrifices of frontline workers and the city at large by proceeding cautiously, limiting the strain on the health-care system and the risk to those who work beneath our roof,” Cunningham wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Cunningham said most of the areas outside of the trading floor will remain empty and the majority of employees will continue to work remotely.

Designated market makers, which oversee the trading of the NYSE’s 2,200 listed companies, will continue to do so remotely and electronically as they have been since March 23.

Trader Daniel Krieger
Trader Daniel Krieger signals a thumbs-up as he arrives at the New York Stock Exchange where the trading floor reopens, N.Y., on May 26, 2020. (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)

Several thousand brokers and others used to crowd the trading floor of the NYSE as recently as the 1990s. But in the years since, the rise of electronic trading grew to dominate the action on Wall Street. These days, there are about 500 floor traders at the NYSE.

The reopening comes at a time when many areas of the United States are starting to lift shelter-in-place orders and allowing businesses to open their doors again.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said that the world remains mired in only the first stage of the CCP virus pandemic, putting a damper on hopes for a speedy global economic rebound.

Worldwide, the virus has infected millions of people, killing hundreds of thousands. Europe has had about 170,000 deaths and the United States has seen nearly 100,000.

There was some optimism about the race for a vaccine. The Dow surged more than 600 points at the opening bell.

Companies that have been ravaged by the pandemic, particularly travel, entertainment and retail stocks, were among the biggest gainers early Tuesday.

The NYSE is owned by Intercontinental Exchange, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

By Matt Ott

NTD staff contributed to this report.