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Nasdaq moves into energy, 15 years after high of dotcom


The Nasdaq logo is etched into glass at the headquarters for the Nasdaq in New York March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Nasdaq logo is etched into glass at the headquarters for the Nasdaq in New York March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson



Happy anniversary, Nasdaq. It has been 15 years since the dotcom bubble peaked in March 2000, and the Nasdaq composite index hit its lifetime intraday high of 5,132.

Back then many Americans were watching reality TV shows like 'Survivor' and bidding up stocks of companies that had no earnings.

The technology-heavy US index has not reached those heights since, though it briefly surpassed the 5,000 mark on March 2. It has since retreated.

These days, while technology stocks might be as hot as ever, investors are less focused on reality shows and more focused on reality - keeping tabs on dividends and price-earnings ratios, for example.

A lot has changed - Apple wasn't even on the radar then. Now it's the most highly valued US public company.

Meanwhile the Nasdaq itself is pushing into new areas.

Now tied to the Nordic-focused OMX Group, Nasdaq this week said it will expand into energy derivatives with energy futures and options set to trade on the Nasdaq Futures Exchange at less than half the prices charged by incumbents CME Group and Intercontinental Exchange.

In a move that would have seemed bizarre in the dotcom era, the energy futures and options products, collectively called Nasdaq Energy Futures, will be based on oil, natural gas, and US power benchmarks.

Nasdaq has been pitching the new offerings to brokerages and banks for months and has secured support from firms that collectively account for 85pc of the volume in market, including ABN AMRO Group, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and Virtu Financial.

The exchange operator hopes to gain a 10pc market share within 18 to 24 months of going live, which would make it a $50 million-a-year business, Nasdaq chief executive Robert Greifeld told reporters at a Futures Industry Association conference in Florida.

In January, Bryan Durkin, CME's chief commercial officer, said in response to Nasdaq considering entering the derivatives market: "We welcome competition" and "I wish them well."

Futures trading has gone mostly electronic over the past decade with less efficient and more costly open outcry trading pits shut down, but the savings from doing so have not filtered down to the customers, Mr Greifeld said, adding that Nasdaq's prices would be less than half of those charged by CME and ICE.

The new energy futures will be traded through the US-based Nasdaq Futures exchange, the licence for which Nasdaq acquired when it bought the Philadelphia Stock Exchange in 2008.

Once synonymous with technology, Nasdaq has a foothold in the commodities business through Nasdaq Commodities, a power derivatives market formerly known as Nordpool that Nasdaq acquired in 2010.

It operates in Britain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.


Irish Independent