CME Group beats profit estimates on lower expenses

FILE PHOTO: Men enter the CME Group offices in New York, U.S., October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) -Futures exchange operator CME Group Inc beat first-quarter profit estimates on Wednesday, as lower expenses more than offset sluggish demand for some of its top products that allow investors to hedge against wild price moves.

While the exchange giant’s bottom line was weighed down by liquidity the U.S. Federal Reserve pumped into the market in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, lower spending on licensing and other agreements helped drive profit beat.

The Fed has also stayed its course of keeping interest rates low, despite some encouraging signs of recovery in the economy like acceleration in job gains.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.79 per share in the quarter. Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.75 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales volume for CME’s rates and energy products, some of its top offerings to investors to safeguard against wild swings in prices, were down 25% and 27%, respectively.

Clearing and transaction fee revenue – the company’s largest revenue stream – fell nearly 22% to $1 billion in the quarter as overall average daily volumes dropped.

Total revenue fell nearly 18% to $1.25 billion in the quarter.

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