New York governor rings opening bell at exchange.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as a limited number of traders returned to the historic floor for the first time since March.

The coronavirus pandemic in New York City has been particularly severe.

The city has suffered some 20,000 deaths, about a fifth of the total across the whole of the United States.

The exchange floor closed after an outbreak of several cases within the building.

Stocks opened higher on Tuesday, after a long weekend for Memorial Day observed on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 2.2 per cent on the open, while the S&P 500 gained some 1.8 per cent, pushing it past the 3,000 point threshold for the first time since March. The tech heavy Nasdaq was also higher by about 1.5 per cent.

Hopes for a vaccine are helping to boost confidence, along with the gradual reopening of economies in states across the country.

Traders will have to wear masks and handshakes are banned, while social distancing measures are in place on the floor.

Several dozen traders returned – about 25 per cent of normal activity.

NYSE chief Stacey Cunningham was on CNBC, a cable news channel, and said traders had to sign an indemnification waiver and also vowed to follow the health and safety rules.

Cuomo wore a mask as he rang the bell and gave high-fives in the air, without touching anyone else.

Meanwhile, New York state continued its downward trend in reported coronavirus deaths and cases as the governor turned his focus towards helping New York’s embattled economy.

The state recorded 73 deaths from COVID-19 and roughly 200 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the lowest numbers since the start of the outbreak over two months ago, Cuomo said Tuesday during his daily press conference.

“In this absurd new reality, that is good news,” he added.

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