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The CME Group Respectfully Requests That You Lazy Bastards Start Trading ASAP

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.
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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.

Weak trading activity hits CME earnings [FT]
End of Run For Wheat Exchange [WSJ]


CME, Deutsche Börse Start, End Fling

When two exchanges eye each other from across the ocean, there's a pretty standard courting procedure. One or both have usually been spurned and lust after a deal, if not particularly with the available lepers, then after a deal for a deal's sake, just to show they've still got it. They dance around each other for a while coquettishly, before agreeing that it really would be a great idea to spend their lives (or a convenient period of time) together. Then, the regulatory chaperones step in and, usually, say no.

Great News: That New Yacht Is Not Gonna Cost As Much As You Originally Thought

The Governor of New York has proposed taking it easy on would-be yacht owners' wallets.

The Securities And Exchange Commission Requests A Little Credit Where Credit Is Due, Please!

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran a front page story reporting that the Securities and Exchange Commission had "blown" the cover of whistleblower Peter C. Earle. The article claimed that Earle, a former employee of Pipeline Trading Systems turned government informant, had his identity "inadvertently" revealed through a "gaffe" on the part of an SEC lawyer, who showed a Pipeline exec "a notebook from the whistleblower filled with jottings about trades, calls and meetings." The executive was said to have recognized Earle's handwriting and told his colleagues, who had previously suspected but did not know for sure that "Pete's the whistleblower." The story was easy to believe because if you've been keeping up with the SEC over the last number of years, you know that this sound exactly like something they'd accidentally do. Except that whereas the regulator fully copped to, for example, missing Madoff while trying to access 385 times/day, it says that this accusation? Is bull shit. It did not "inadvertently" "blow" anyone. Here's its strongly worded letter to the Journal saying as much: The Securities and Exchange Commission in no way exposed Peter Earle as a whistleblower, and our use of his notebooks in an investigative deposition was neither "inadvertent" nor a "breach" or "gaffe" ("Source's Cover Blown by SEC," Page One, April 25). It was a deliberate decision, which SEC lawyer Daniel Walfish discussed in advance with his supervisor, who was present for the deposition in which the notebooks were exhibited. Nor did the fully authorized use of the notebooks in any way compromise Mr. Earle or the integrity of the SEC's investigation of the Pipeline Trading Systems matter. Although it was widely known among executives of Pipeline and Milstream Strategy Group that Mr. Earle had approached the SEC after he was terminated from Milstream—a fact volunteered by several witnesses and acknowledged by Mr. Earle long before any use of his notebooks—the SEC declined to confirm his identity and still treated his status as a cooperating witness as confidential. The SEC made sure to obtain all of the notes of the approximately six Milstream traders, and in the SEC's deposition of Gordon Henderson (the supervisor of Mr. Earle and the other traders), the SEC used other traders' notes along with those of Mr. Earle. The use of these traders' notes—highly relevant evidence prepared in the ordinary course of their work at Milstream—in no way revealed whether Mr. Earle or any other trader was or was not cooperating with the SEC. George S. Canellos Director New York Regional Office U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission New York SEC Did Not Blow Source's Cover [WSJ] Earlier: SEC Burns Whistleblower In The Most SEC Way Possible