Traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have new power in the palm of their hands. The futures exchange has launched new functionality on its CME Galax-C handheld trading devices to enhance the electronic liquidity in its options markets.
The handheld, currently used by about 400 traders on an average of 120,000 contracts per day, offers a new variety of preferences. Traders now can trade all options contracts available on CME's electronic trading platform, Globex, using two different views. In addition, the trading limit for contracts has increased to 1,000 from its previous maximum of just 30. Traders also can toggle between futures and options-trading screens.
Patrick Lynch is one of about 200 traders in the CME Eurodollar futures market using Galax-C. He says the greatest advantage of the new functionality is its automated spread legging - the ability to buy one contract and sell another against it. "In the pit, you have to do that manually. On the handheld, it's working both sides for me. That's really been a major bonus to people trading Eurodollar products on handhelds," he notes. "The majority of people [using Galax-C] are trying to arbitrage between an open outcry and an electronic platform," Lynch adds.
However, he projects that, as electronic trading takes over, the Galax-C may eventually become obsolete. "There's a migration of the volume to the electronic platform," he says. "When there's no longer an open-outcry platform, I don't know how many people will continue to use the handheld."