Shares in CBOT Holdings Inc. climbed to an all-time high Friday morning, reflecting investors' optimism about growth in trading volume at the second-largest U.S. futures exchange.
Shares in the parent company of the Chicago Board of Trade hit a high of $139.35, surpassing the previous high of $134.50 established shortly after the company carried out its initial public offering in October 2005.
In early afternoon trading, CBOT shares were up $8.70, or 6.7 percent, at $139.20 on the New York Stock Exchange.
On Monday, the exchange reported average daily volume during September of 3.3 million contracts, which was up 24 percent from the same time a year earlier. In particular, volume for agricultural products has soared, thanks to the introduction of daytime electronic trading, which runs concurrently with traditional floor trading.
CBOT announced Friday that it posted all-time single-day record volume for the agriculture complex on Thursday, with 929,546 contracts changing hands, surpassing the previous mark of 869,005 on Feb. 22, 2005. Average daily volume for agricultural contracts was 485,000 in September, up 77 percent from year-ago figures.
Trading of agricultural products on the e-CBOT platform accounted for 35.1 percent of Thursday's agricultural volume, according to the exchange.
In addition, fees charged per traded contract have exceeded analysts' estimates. The rate-per-contract for the three-month period ending Aug. 31 rose to 59.1 cents, from 56.8 cents the previous month, CBOT said Monday.
Rates-per-contract, closely watched by investors, are reported with a one-month lag.
It is expected that fee increases, which were enacted Oct. 1, will boost future rate-per-contract figures, thus raising hopes for improved earnings.
"People are positive that there's an earnings surprise," said Ryan Caldwell, stock analyst for Waddell & Reed.
CBOT reports third quarter earnings on Oct. 17. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial on average expect CBOT to show earnings of 79 cents per share for the three months ending in September.
Strong growth in trading volume at CBOT and at its main rival, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc., has played a key role in boosting revenue and profits. It has also sparked significant share price gains in recent months.
CBOT shares are up about 45 percent this year. The stock has more than doubled from the $54 price at which it started trading on Oct. 19, 2005.
Howard Packowitz is a correspondent of Dow Jones Newswires