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updated: 10/25/2012 10:35 AM

CME Group's results fall on quieter markets

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Associated Press

CME Group, the parent of the Chicago Board of Trade and other exchanges, on Thursday said that its third-quarter net income fell 31 percent and revenue dropped 22 percent versus a blockbuster performance a year ago.

Net income was $218 million, or 66 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, down from $316 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

After stripping out one-time items, earnings were 70 cents per share, beating the 69 cents that analysts expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Analysts usually exclude one-time items when making their forecasts.

Revenue fell to $683 million from $874.2 million, missing the $694 million that analysts expected.

The company made less in clearing and transaction fees than it did a year ago, when trading volume was unusually high. Trading was frenzied in the third quarter of 2011, when a downgrade of the U.S. debt rating, a budget standoff in Congress and Europe's debt crisis rocked the markets.

Though volatility can hurt many companies, many sophisticated investors welcome it because it creates more opportunities to trade. The average daily volume at the CME Group in the third quarter was 10.8 million, down 26 percent from the "exceptionally strong" third quarter of 2011, the CME Group said.

CME Group's chairman and president, Terry Duffy, said in a statement that, given "the dynamic and changing global environment," the CME Group would "continue to advocate on behalf of our customers, businesses and the futures industry as new regulations are being implemented."

CME Group runs exchanges like the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where investors can trade on agricultural commodities, energy, metals and other investments.

It's a growing business. This month, the CME Group announced it will buy the Kansas City Board of Trade. In August, it said it would apply to create a derivatives exchange in London. Some of the growth is because regulators have been pushing to move more derivatives trades onto exchanges so they can be more transparent.

CME Group shares fell $1.62, or 2.9 percent, to $54.93 in morning trading Thursday. Its shares peaked at $60.92 in mid-March. Its shares traded as low as $44.94 in mid-January.

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