Coronavirus temporarily shutters Chicago trading floors

New York Stock Exchange plans to stay open

CME Group is taking a precautionary measure and shutting its legendary Chicago trading floor at the close of business Friday to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

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The decision comes as medical professions urge people to “reduce large gatherings that can contribute to the spread of coronavirus,” CME Group said in a statement.

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The firm said all of its products will continue to trade electronically on its Globex platform, and that it does not know when the trading floor will be reopened.

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported on the trading floor or in the Chicago Board of Trade building. CME Group is the world’s largest exchange, home to trading of futures and options on a number of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, foreign exchange and agriculture.

Neighboring Cboe Global Markets will also close its trading floor as a “precautionary measure” at the end of business on Friday. Cboe products will trade electronically on the company’s C1 platform.

While the exchanges in Chicago are going fully electronic, the New York Stock Exchange is planning to keep its iconic trading floor open. The NYSE has taken a number of precautionary steps, however, including mandating separate entrances for traders and staff.

Logistically, the trading floors in Chicago are set up differently than those of the NYSE. Chicago has trading pits, which confine a large number of people into a tight space while New York’s allows for a bit more distance between traders.

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Recently, the large daily swings in the markets have been a boon for all of the exchanges, leading to record trading volumes.