Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) continues to impress the financial world as the electronic energy marketplace and soft commodity exchange was just named the best performing stock over 2006 among 1,000 companies in the Wall Street Journal‘s (WSJ) annual Shareholder Scoreboard. ICE also posted new volume and commission records during February.

Following an initial public offering (IPO) in November 2005 of 16 million shares at $26/share (see Daily GPI, Nov. 17, 2005), the company’s stock on the New York Stock Exchange soared immediately almost 70% to a high of $44.21. As of close on Thursday, the company’s shares closed at $150.58. According to the WSJ’s Shareholder Scoreboard, ICE’s shares nearly tripled in 2006 — for a total return of 197%. ICE unseated the Nasdaq Stock Market for top one-year performance honors. Nasdaq produced a 244.9% return during 2005.

As for its performance, ICE on Friday reported significant increases in volume and commissions during the month of February 2007 compared to February 2006. Average daily volume (ADV) for ICE Futures, ICE’s U.K. based regulated futures subsidiary, was 492,353 contracts, an increase of 92.8% over ADV in February 2006. Volume at the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), ICE’s newly acquired U.S.-based regulated futures subsidiary (see Daily GPI, Jan. 16), totaled a record 4,886,508 contracts in February 2007, for an ADV of 256,447 contracts, an increase of 17.9% over February 2006. The exchange noted that electronic trading accounted for 32.4% of the total NYBOT soft commodities futures contracts.

The month also included the introduction of NYBOT side-by-side trading in its core soft commodities for the first time in its history, offering its electronic markets on the ICE platform. Average daily electronic volume in soft commodity futures was 65,385 contracts in February 2007, with total average daily volume of 256,447 contracts.

Average daily commissions in ICE’s over-the- counter (OTC) business segment in February 2007 were $800,446, a 90% increase over February 2006.

ICE reported that total monthly volume at ICE Futures in February 2007 rose 92.8% to 9,847,062 contracts, compared to 5,107,913 contracts in February 2006. Excluding trading on President’s Day, a U.S. holiday during which the ICE Futures markets were open for trading, average daily volume for the month was 510,186 contracts. Monthly and average daily volume exchange-wide figures in February 2007 represented the second highest totals in the history of the exchange. ICE Brent Crude futures and ICE WTI Crude futures individually recorded their second best volume months in February.

ICE UK Natural Gas futures set a new monthly record of 97,635 contracts in February 2007, surpassing the previous January 2003 monthly record of 95,945; ADV was a record 4,882 contracts, exceeding by 11.9% the January 2003 ADV record. During February 2007, ICE Futures established several open interest records, including exchange-wide and in ICE Brent Crude, ICE WTI Crude and ICE Gas Oil futures.

In February 2007, the ICE Futures rate per contract (RPC) averaged $1.28, compared to $1.12 in February 2006, when a fee waiver for the ICE WTI Crude futures contract, as well as the previous futures rate structure, were in place. In January 2007, ICE Futures’ RPC was $1.30, compared to $1.33 in December 2006 and $1.33 in the fourth quarter of 2006. At Feb. 28, 2007, open interest for ICE Futures stood at 1,609,320 contracts, compared to 1,416,470 contracts at Dec. 31, 2006.

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