The U.S. markets will remain open while the country battles to control the spreading COVID-19 virus, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday.
Mnuchin squashed lingering rumors that the markets could join other daily events and destinations that remain shuttered while the virus continues to spread.
There’s a consensus among financial regulators that it’s “in the best interest” for trading to continue, Mnuchin said. During a call with the heads of the Federal Reserve, the Securities Exchange Commission and other agencies, Bloomberg reported that Mnuchin said businesses and investors need access to capital markets.
The New York Stock Exchange closed its floor Monday and is processing all trades electronically. Some say the markets should go further and join sporting events, schools, museums and others on the sidelines.
“Maybe close a day or two,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said on MSNBC last week. “It’s not an industry that we have to have.”
Mnuchin himself added to the speculation last week when he said trading hours could be shortened.
Market closing talk had subsided this week as trading turned positive and Congress passed a $2 trillion emergency economic stimulus package.
Trading Down Again
But trading was down sharply again Friday and down about 30% since the COVID-19 outbreak spooked the global economy. Just this month, the market “circuit breakers” have been activated four times as stocks plunged amid punishing trading runs.
Tech entrepreneur and former PayPal executive Max Levchin has argued that it might be time to close the markets for a week or two, Politico reported Tuesday.
In a three-tweet thread she has pinned to her account, New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham vehemently argued again closing the markets, or even shortening trading hours:
The markets have closed down in the past, mostly during moments of national crisis. Stock trading shut down for several days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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