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CME Group Posts Record Exchange Volume, Talks NY Trading Floor Closure Savings

Boosted by record volume done on its exchanges, CME Group Inc., which recently announced plans to shutter its New York trading floor, reported record revenue of $934 million and record operating income of $574 million for the first quarter of 2016.

Net income adjusted for nonrecurring items was $390 million and diluted earnings per share on an adjusted basis was $1.15, up from $330 million and 98 cents/share during 1Q2015.

"Our record first quarter financial performance was driven by our highest quarterly average daily volume to date, including record volumes in energy, overall options and electronic options," said CME Group Executive Chairman Terry Duffy.  "We delivered record revenue and operating income, and 17% growth in adjusted diluted earnings per share."

CME Group, which operates the CME Globex electronic trading platform and its exchanges based in Chicago, New York and London, said 1Q2016 average daily volume (ADV) was a record 16.9 million contracts, up 13% from the roughly 15 million ADV transacted during 1Q2015, and included quarterly records in energy, total options and electronic options. The 1Q2016 ADV also represents a 29% hike over the 13.2 million ADV transacted during 4Q2015.

During a 1Q2016 earnings call with analysts, executives expanded on the company's efforts to reduce costs and streamline the business.

"We continue our intense focus on efficiency, with the sale of our office buildings over the last few years and more recently our data center, we are taking an asset-light approach which will allow was to focus on running our core business," said John Pietrowicz, CME Group CFO. "In 2015, we delayered the management structure, closed futures pits, reduced marketing costs, and focused on data center consolidation. So far this year, we have completed the sale of our data center, sublet excess office space in Chicago, announced the closure of our trading floors in New York at year-end, and have begun to offshore some positions reducing compensation and consulting costs."

Expanding on the news earlier in April that the company plans to shutter the New York open outrcry trading floor, which operated under Nymex, Pietrowicz said the savings would be significant. "We will save approximately $5 million of expense annually beginning 2017 and possibly another $3 million per year if we can successfully sublease the space," he said.

On April 13 the company cited declining open outcry options volume on CME Group's New York trading floor, which now represents just 0.3 percent of the company's overall energy and metals trading volumes, for the move. The exchange said all options products listed with and subject to the rules and regulations of Nymex and Comex will be available for trading on CME Globex, and for submission for clearing through CME ClearPort.

Since the company announced in 1Q2015 that open outcry futures trading in New York would end last Summer (see Daily GPIFeb. 5, 2015), average daily volume for remaining options products traded through open outcry in New York has further declined by 53% to just 7,500 contracts. Futures trading on the New York trading floor was discontinued in July 2015 (see Daily GPIJune 24, 2015).

As part of the plan, CME Group will make space available for floor traders to transition to electronic trading at the company's One North End Avenue facility in Battery Park, NY, beginning in 4Q2016. After open outcry trading in New York ends on Dec. 30, 2016, the company plans to sublease its existing trading floor space, but will retain its existing office space in the building for staff. CME Group's Chicago trading floor will remain open for trading of options on futures contracts, as well as S&P 500 futures contracts.

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