CME Closes Floor on Safety Concerns but loses Ground

The market will remain available for electronic trading, making some investors nervous

Laura McCandless
Mar 12, 2020 at 10:59 AM
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CME Group Inc (NASDAQ:CME)  is down 7.16% to trade at $180.74 this morning on news that the exchange operator is planning on closing its Chicago trading floor on Friday evening, due to the spread of coronavirus, with a reopening date dependent upon further news of the pandemic. The market will remain available for electronic trading, though this is making some traders nervous. PJ Quaid, a broker on the CME floor, stated that "the electronic market fails when the markets get crazy," citing last Sunday night's incredibly volatile electronic trading session. CME Group is the first to close their trading floor.

It has been a steep descent for CME off its late-February all-time peak near the $225 level. In fact, the shares are eyeing their lowest close in over 10 months and are now down nearly 10% year-to-date. Plus, the equity just recently breached an area of long-term support at its 180-day moving average, which served as a floor for CME since last November. 

There is plenty more room for bearish attention from the brokerage bunch, with six of the 11 analysts in coverage sporting a "strong buy" rating. Meanwhile, the consensus 12-month price target of $223.08 is just below CME's record highs, and sits at a 24.4% premium to current levels. 

On the other hand, puts are being favored in the options pits, per CME's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.10 at the International Securites Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This rato sits higher than 94% of readings from the past year, suggesting a much bigger-than-usual appetite for bearish bets of late. 


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