Key Futures and Options Exchanges in the U.S. - dummies

Key Futures and Options Exchanges in the U.S.

Several active futures and options exchanges exist in the United States. Each has its own niche, but some overlaps occur in the types of contracts that are traded. Here are the names to know among American options and futures exchanges:

  • Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE): The premier options exchange market in the world, the CBOE specializes in trading options on individual stocks, stock index futures, interest rate futures, and a broad array of specialized products such as exchange-traded funds. The CBOE is not a futures exchange but is included here to be complete, because futures and options can be traded simultaneously, as part of a single strategy.

  • CME Group: A CME/Chicago Board of Trade Company: In 2007, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) merged, creating this new entity.

    The CBOT brings to the table trades made in futures contracts for the agriculturals, interest rates, Dow Indexes, and metals. The CME was already the largest futures exchange in North America, trading a wide variety of instruments, including commodities, stock index futures, foreign currencies, interest rates, TRAKRS, and environmental futures, which are principally weather contracts initially based upon temperature.

    Futures contracts for the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index and options on the futures contracts that the CME listed also are traded here, along with real estate futures.

  • Intercontinental Exchange (ICE): This exchange was established in 2000 and through mergers and acquisitions, most notably that of the New York Board of Trade, has become a key electronic 24-hour trading platform. ICE offers trading for crude oil, both Brent and West Texas Light Sweet contracts, as well as heating oil, jet fuel, electric power, and soft commodities such as coffee, sugar, cocoa, and frozen orange juice.

  • Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBT): The KCBT is a regional exchange that specializes in wheat futures and offers trading on stock index futures for the Value Line Index, a broad listing of 1,700 stocks.

  • Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX): MGEX is a regional exchange that trades three kinds of seasonally different wheat futures, and offers futures and options on the National Corn Index and the National Soybeans Index.

  • New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX): The NYMEX is the hub for trading in energy futures and metals.