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Byline: STEVE WATKINS
As more investors hedge their bets through the use of options and futures, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings is reaping the rewards.
The company has set volume records in each of the first four months of 2005. First-quarter volume gained 39% from the prior year. And trading volume is averaging 4.5 million contracts through the first two months of the second quarter -- a 32% gain.
Higher volumes are the Holy Grail for Chicago Mercantile, known as the Merc.
It collects a fee each time a trade is made. The lion's share of sales comes from those fees. The firm trades stock index, interest rate, foreign exchange and commodity contracts.
Follow The Leader
Chicago Mercantile, the nation's largest futures exchange, is also a trendsetter. …