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Nasdaq to Close Its Trading Floor Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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Nasdaq, Inc. (NDAQ - Free Report) announced that it will temporarily shut down its PHLX Options Market trading floor located in Philadelphia on Mar 17, 2020. The trading floor will remain closed until further notice.

The announcement reflects the company’s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in Philadelphia. The virus, which was considered to originate from the Wuhan market in China, has infected several people and already caused many deaths in the United States.

However, trading of the company’s equities, options and fixed income markets, which can be traded electronically, will continue to operate.

The coronavirus pandemic seems to affect the company’s share price performance as well. Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have lost 26.2% in the past month compared with the industry’s decline of 13.5%. Further, Nasdaq's shares moved down 11.2% and ended the trading session at $85.31 on Monday.



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Also, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 3,000 points on Monday and reached its lowest point since 2017 due to the pandemic. The Nasdaq Composite was also down 12.3%. The S&P 500 was down nearly 12% on the same day.

Nevertheless, Nasdaq remains focused on improving growth via organic means. The company expects growth from its index and analytics businesses, followed by moderate growth in its exchange data products across the United States and Nordic equities, options, and fixed income businesses, driven by a wide client base.

Apart from the temporary closure of its options trading floor, Nasdaq’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 among its employees in North America bode well. The company is likely to provide its staff with facilities, including work-from-home, split-teams and rotating staff schedules, during the dismal period.

Other securities and exchange companies, namely CME Group Inc. (CME - Free Report) , Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (CBOE - Free Report) and Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE - Free Report) recently undertook similar steps for the coronavirus pandemic. While CME Group closed its Chicago trading floor temporarily till Mar 13, 2020, CBOE Global temporarily shut down its Cboe Options Exchange (C1) trading floor after business hours on Mar 13. After a reported case of coronavirus in one particular office in London last week, Intercontinental Exchange shut it down for the remaining week.

Meanwhile, experts believe that the announcement came after President Trump’s declaration of health emergency on Mar 13. The declaration frees up to $50 billion in federal funds for emergency relief operations. It also eases regulations on the provision of healthcare and could speed up testing.

Keeping in these lines, Federal Reserve announced 0-0.25% interest rate cuts to support the economy, which has been badly hit by the outbreak. This will likely boost margins and lower the occurrence of inflation. Also, it revealed plans to buy $500 billion of Treasurys and $200 billion of agency-backed mortgage securities to lower the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the economy.

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