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Market Savvy | SAVVY CONFIDENTIAL / A briefing
for investors

Flurry Of Futures

September 03, 1998| Bloomberg News

Stock index futures can be used to bet on--or hedge against--market moves. Whatever they're thinking, investors are trading futures at a record pace.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange said trading soared last month almost 28% from a year earlier to the highest ever for any August, led by unprecedented activity in its stock index futures.

Standard & Poor's 500 futures reached an August trading record of 3.03 million contracts--more than double year-earlier levels.

The surge may have been the result of a move late last year to reduce the size of each contract, making them more accessible to individual investors.

The value of each contract is $250 times the index, down from $500 last year. A contract today represents about $247,250 worth of stock--which an investor can control for about 5% down.

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