The CME Group has some unfortunate news: Your lack of trading last year has hit it pretty hard in the wallet. But fear not: The company has already come up with one money-saving cutback for this year.
First, the sad: CME's earnings fell by almost 80% in the fourth quarter, although Q4 2011's figure was half composed of a one-time tax benefit. But the exchange is not losing hope:
“We remain cautiously optimistic about the trading environment,” said Phupinder Gill, chief executive, as the company announced fourth-quarter earnings.
That optimism will be lost on the handful of hard-red winter wheat floor traders left in Kansas City, who are going to have to find something else to do. The CME is going to save a few bucks by shutting the anachronism known as the grain-trading pits at the Kansas City Board of Trade in July, and will probably put the KCBOT entirely out of its misery at the end of September.
The decision evoked memories of the floor's heyday, when hundreds of traders, clerks and staff populated the pits. Traders recalled a local movie filmed on the floor in the late 1980s, and a sculpture made of dyed loaves of bread, which added the aroma of mold to the exchange when the bread began to rot.
"We knew this would happen 10 years ago, it was just a matter of when," said Scott McWilliams, a trader with Lansing Trade Group LLC, who said he started doing business at the exchange in 1997.