Trading volumes soar as S&P breaks record

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, June 20, 2016. U.S. stocks surged, with the S&P 500 Index jumping the most in four weeks, after the latest polls showed the U.K. campaign to remain in the European Union is gaining ground before Thursday's referendum. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg©Bloomberg

The record high for the S&P 500 index has fuelled strong demand in US equities and derivatives trading in the first half of the year.

Data released on Monday by the World Federation of Exchanges, a trade association for more than 200 market structure operators, revealed that the number of share trades in the first half of the year to June 30 in the Americas rose 23 per cent to 3.7bn.


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Related derivatives instruments such as stock index options rose 25 per cent to 302m contracts and stock index futures rose 24 per cent to 436m contracts.

Investors around the world have been drawn to US equities, attracted by strong corporate earnings, negative yields on debt and falling expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

The increases offset generally weaker headline numbers as the bubble that had propelled frenzied buying in China last year continued to deflate.

The value traded on cash equity markets fell by nearly a quarter to $ 44.9tn, reflecting the slowdown in trading activity in China.

The Chinese authorities were forced to temporarily halt trading in hundreds of stocks while government and state-backed institutions also stepped in to stabilise the market during its collapse over the summer of 2015.

There were also further signs that investors had shunning actively-traded stocks on public markets. The number of newly-listed companies on global exchanges nearly halved to just 811.

However, investment flows channelled through exchanges dropped 31.4 per cent in the first half compared to the same period last year.

Capital raised through initial public offerings, which accounted for just under 10 per cent of total capital raised, slumped 64 per cent to $ 40bn. That total included large listings like US Foods, CF Corp and Red Rock Resorts when they listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Capital raised by already listed companies decreased by 24.1 per cent to $ 385bn.

At the same time the number of exchange traded funds — passive investments that track indices — rose 10 per cent to 9,500 listed securities.

Global volumes of exchange-traded derivatives rose 1.4 per cent compared to the first half of last year as investors continued to use commodity and currency derivatives.

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