Nasdaq’s US Equities Volumes Rise to Two-Year High in May 2017

Nasdaq set 2017 highs in its US and European equities business, helped by volatility and market driving events.

Nasdaq (Nasaq:NDAQ), the second-largest exchange in the world by market capitalization, has just reported its latest trading volumes and metrics for May 2017. Buoyed by a volatile market and surging US stock indices, Nasdaq saw a strong performance in its equities and fixed income volumes.

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May was one of the more active months in 2017, with markets digesting several different episodic factors. Despite higher incidences of volatility on the whole, investors grappled with risk factors in both the US and Europe. Whether it was the impact of political scandals in the US surrounding the Trump administration or the French elections in the EU, markets had no shortage of events and influences after a dormant April.

In addition, multiple US stock indices reached all time highs, despite plunging as well during the month, which helped contribute to higher volumes in the US. In Europe, markets were given a sense of calm with the results of elections in France, also driving investor activity to new heights in 2017. The results also are in line with other institutional venues that by and large saw an uptick in volumes with regard to US markets and equities.

In May 2017, Nasdaq’s US equity derivatives business took a big leap forward, posting its best reading of the year with 137.0 million contracts. This figure is a gain of 21.2 percent from 113.0 million contracts in April 2017, beating a previous high of 136.0 million contracts set back in March – May also reported the highest reading in over two years. It is also worth noting that May 2017 featured more trading days than the previous month, 22 vs. 20.

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The latest equities derivatives measure in the US also crushed its 2016 counterpart, which had been a yearly low of just 66.0 million contracts in May 2016, good for a year-on-year bounce of 107.6 percent.

European Growth

The positive performance also extended to Nasdaq’s European business over the same month-over-month period, with its European equity derivatives registering an upward performance in May 2017. Nasdaq reported 9.3 million contracts in May 2017, compared to just 5.9 million contracts in April 2017, or 57.6 percent higher month-over-month, also setting a 2017 high. This rise was just as strong over a yearly basis, managing to grow by 45.3 percent year-over-year from 6.4 million contracts in May 2016.

Elsewhere in its European segment, Nasdaq’s cash equities business also stormed higher in May 2017, reporting a figure of $79.0 billion for the month, up 25.4 percent month-over-month from $63.0 billion in April 2017, setting a 2017 high.

FICC Business Trending Higher

Nasdaq’s May 2017’s figures were also higher across Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities business (FICC) in both the US and Europe. More specifically, US fixed income volume (in billion USD traded) yielded $1,654 for the month ending May 2017. This figure rose 11.7 percent month-over-month from $1,481 in April 2017, its highest level since March 2017, as well as coming in 1.7 percent higher year-over-year from $1,627 in May 2016.

A recurring trend across US markets in 2017 is pockets of volatility that have dictated market activity. Unlike H1 2016 however that was historically low in terms of volatility, the past few months have featured varying levels of market drivers, which explains the large monthly changes in volumes relative to more stable figures in 2016.

In terms of European fixed income, May 2017’s metrics were equally strong, showing a healthy rise in its volumes month-over-month. May 2017 saw 2.3 million contracts, up 15.0 percent month-over-month from just 2.0 million contracts in April 2017 though up 35.3 percent year-over-year from May 2016.

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