Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday said that trading hours could be reduced on Wall Street, but one top NYSE official says business will continue as usual. 

“We’re not considering shortening the trading day at this point, and we’re certainly not considering closing the markets.” Stacey Cunningham, president of the New York Stock Exchange, told Cheddar. “It’s really important that the markets remain open.”

The secretary’s comments in a press conference today tracked roughly with Cunningham’s, but he left open the possibility that trading hours could be reduced at some point. 

“We may get to a point where we shorten the hours if that’s something they need to do,” Mnuchin said at a press conference earlier today. “But Americans should know we are going to do everything to make sure that they have access to the money in their banks, to the money in their 401(k)s and to money in stocks.”

Cunningham said that Mnuchin and administration officials are generally in agreement that the stock market plays an important role in managing the crisis and should stay open.

“I don’t think we’re really providing different messages,” she said. 

Closing the exchange would not ebb market volatility, Cunningham added. Markets are just reflecting uncertainty in the broader economy. 

“Investors need to be able to get their money, so shutting the markets would be sending a bad message,” she said. "The markets are also a good indicator of what overall investor sentiment is. Having that indication is really valuable during this time of anxiety.”

Operationally, the Street is holding its own amid the crisis, Cunningham said. 

“From a systems, operational, and functional perspective, the markets are keeping up, and that’s no small feat considering the hundreds of billions of messages we process each day,” she said.

In the meantime, the exchange is taking extra precautions on the floor. Those include implementing new screening measures, such as traders getting their temperature checked at the door, social-distancing between traders, and deep sanitary cleaning on a regular basis. 

“This is a very patriotic group down here, and they feel very strongly that they’re providing resiliency to the overall markets,” Cunningham said. “The fact that we have people applying human judgment to trading helps dampen volatility.”

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