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The CME Group will close the Chicago trading platform as a precaution for coronavirus

On Wednesday evening the CME Group announced that it will close its Chicago trading platform with a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The closure will take effect on Friday “at the close of business,” CME said in a statement, noting that no coronavirus cases have been reported to the Chicago Board of Trade’s commercial plan.

This would make CME the first major U.S. exchange to close a trade base because of concerns about the coronavirus. The New York Stock Exchange is also taking precautionary measures, working to separate traders and other employees, according to a Reuters report citing an internal note.

CME has stated that floor merchants in Chicago will receive a “question and answer” Thursday “regarding the execution of certain floor products, procedures, protocols and other practices.”

The CME announcement comes after several companies have advised employees to work from home in an attempt to prevent infection with the virus. At the national level, Italy has extended the national closure to all stores except grocery stores and pharmacies. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has also announced that its upcoming men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held without fans.

Global coronavirus cases exceeded 124,000, data collected from Johns Hopkins University shows. In the United States, the number of cases has been at least 1,110 along with over 30 deaths.

Concerns about the rapid spread of the virus and the lack of a fiscal stimulus plan by the Trump administration to stem the potential economic slowdown plunged stocks on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 1,400 points and closed in a bear market, down more than 20% from a record close just last month.

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