The New York Stock Exchange trading room floor is a flurry of activity from the minute the bell rings until the second it closes. People are running everywhere, jammed together, in a single large room.
Dan Geer, who did more work on Wall St than I did (and I did a lot) in the 90s used to say “they will trade.” He was sure that if there was a disaster, the traders would step over the corpses of their peers and carry on. Later, on 9/11, that was pretty much how it was going to happen. The markets were closed for two days afterward.
Closing the market might have been a good idea, considering what the coronavirus panic did to them. But it was a foregone conclusion that many commercial market sectors were going to fall off a cliff, and take everything else with them.
What about the traders? [reuters]
NEW YORK (Reuters) – At least two more New York Stock Exchange floor traders tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday despite measures taken to prevent people infected by the virus from entering the exchange while it remained physically open last week, according to a memo seen by Reuters.
“Given the possibility of exposure, and consistent with local, state, and federal government guidance, we recommend that all those who worked on the NYSE Trading Floor over the last 14 days should self-quarantine until a two week symptom-free period has elapsed,” Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE.N)-owned NYSE said in a memo to traders.
Having a seat on the exchange costs millions of dollars, and the market-makers who work down there are moving billions of dollars in shares a day. Someone’s getting a slice of that action. The traders I’ve met will not hesitate to go to work even if they are sick. There’s money to be made. The invisible hand of the market’ll sort it all out.