NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)--NQLX LLC, the single-stock futures exchange that is a wholly owned company of Euronext.liffe, announced that it would suspend trading in all of its security futures products following the expiry of the December 2004 contracts on Dec. 17.
NQLX has struggled for some time. In December 2003, it suspended many of its contracts, hoping to focus upon what it called its "more vibrant listings" (see Previous HedgeWorld Story).
But the more vibrant weren't very vibrant. Its volume in June 2004 was only 65,569 contracts, of which roughly two-fifths (23,282) were in Microsoft futures. For comparison, OneChicago's June volume was 202,384.
The chief executive of Euronext.liffe and chairman of NQLX, Hugh Freedberg, said in a statement Sept. 1 that NQLX will retain its status as a designated contract market in anticipation of the listing of other contracts in the future, and he pointed to the growing use of LIFFE CONNECT in North America as evidence that "we remain fully committed to meeting the needs of U.S. customers." LIFFE CONNECT is an electronic trading platform used by the Chicago Board of Trade.
There has been a good deal of speculation of late as to why, despite high hopes, single-stock futures still have not caught on, especially as a retail product in the United States. One concern has been the split of market between NQLX and OneChicago, especially in the absence of fungibility (see Previous HedgeWorld Story).
If that was the chief impediment, then the withdrawal of NQLX may be a hopeful one for the growth of this product, since OneChicago (a joint venture of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Board Options Exchange) now has the North American security futures market to itself.
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