A Chapter In Trading History Closes: CME Ends The Open-Outcry Pit

Tyler Durden's picture

Scenes like this one from the iconic movie Trading Places...

... will henceforth be forever entombed in the annals of trader history, a history in which man is thoroughly replaced by machine, following news earlier today that the CME will close most of its futures pits in Chicago and New York. "The move deals a death blow to trading floors that grew in the 20th century alongside America’s agriculture, mining and energy industries and were once synonymous with capitalism."

With open outcry trading dwindling to just 1 percent of volume at CME, the owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and New York Mercantile Exchange decided to shutter nearly all its trading floors by July 2, according to a statement from Chicago-based CME. The exceptions include Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures as well as some options on futures.


“It was only a question of time,” said Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University and Bloomberg View contributor. “It has taken this long mainly because CME has shown some loyalty toward market participants whose livelihood has depended on their participation in open-outcry trading.”


A previous floor of the New York Board of Trade, located in one of the buildings of the World Trade Center, was used to film scenes for the 1983 movie “Trading Paces,” which starred Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. In the film, two brothers attempt to manipulate the market in orange juice futures. Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which bought the NYBOT in 2007 and re-named it ICE Futures U.S., closed the floor in 2012.


There are about 300 traders and clerks in the Chicago futures pits and about 75 in New York, according to Michael Shore, a CME spokesman. Many of them already trade electronically and don’t come in every day, he said.

Of course, none of this will come as a surprise to anyone: after all the "New York" Stock Exchange is now located in Mahwah, New Jersey, where not one human trader is allowed, and where all external communication comes and goes by way of microwaves, while the original NYSE is nothing more than a CNBC stage.

So on your way out, dear carbon-based obsolete trader, we salute you with a trip down the 167-year history of the CME exchange.

  • 1848 - Chicago Board of Trade creates the world's first futures exchange, based in Chicago
  • 1865 - CBOT formalizes grain trading with the development of standardized agreements called "futures" contracts
  • 1870 - CBOT develops first octagonal futures trading pit
  • 1877 - CBOT launches corn, wheat and oats futures
  • 1885 - CBOT constructs a new building at LaSalle and Jackson streets, its home to this day
  • 1936 - CBOT launches soybean contract
  • 1961 - CME launches first futures contract on frozen, stored meats - frozen pork bellies
  • 1969 - CBOT begins trading silver futures, its first non-agricultural product
  • 1972 - CME launches first financial futures contracts, offering contracts on seven foreign currencies
  • 1975 - CBOT launches first interest rate futures, offering a contract on the Government National Mortgage Association
  • 1992 - First electronic futures trades are made on CME Globex electronic trading platform
  • 2002 - CME becomes first U.S. exchange to go public
  • 2007 - CME acquires CBOT to form CME Group Inc
  • 2008 - CME Group acquires NYMEX, adding energy and metals to its product offerings
  • 2012 - Kansas City Board of Trade ceases operations and its benchmark hard red winter wheat contract becomes part of CME Group
  • 2015 - CME Group announces that it will close down most of open outcry trading pits

And one more, not shown above yet: 20[  ] - sentient robots decide they have had enough of being bossed around by the carbon-based weaklings with no sturdy exoskeleton, and who can't trade a thousands times in one microsecond, and promptly wipe them out.

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medium giraffe's picture

Officially nothing left to shout about.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Not to worry, HFT bots are standing by to inject emergency liquidity at a moments notice.


NoDebt's picture

In cyber space nobody can hear you scream.

Pinto Currency's picture



Headline should say "CME Limits Trading to Blue Pill Trading Platform".

One more cover-up, one more manipulation will solve the problems caused by manipulation.

Down to Earth Thinking's picture

Is it even remotely possible Corzines take down of MFG had anything to do with CME ? Or am I just paranoid and confused ? You know they do put listening devices in our cheese and all !

Cheduba's picture

Isn't it incredible how every last redundancy in the entire world is being methodically removed? I remember reading that the open outcry was used to bring the market back to order recently when one of the stock exchanges stopped working.

Complexity breeds fragility and centralization of every aspect of our lives has left us with only the option of collapse on a global scale.

Hitlery_4_Dictator's picture

Seems stupid. Chicago is a world class city. Missed hosting the Olympics by this much.  Oh well, I like HFT so you gotta go with the times.  At least they are keeping the other offices open. The people of Chicago are wonderful and I would hate to see a negative impact on theri economy.  

zhandax's picture

How did anyone end up living in that town in the first place?  Were a bunch of New Yorkers sitting around saying "I love the crime and the filth, but it's just not cold enough"?

StandardDeviant's picture

Fair enough.  But open outcry and HFT aren't the only two alternatives.  Humans can still trade electronically from a desk upstairs (or on the beach).

barliman's picture


... and you only wanted the  "first" post anyway

Murf_DaSurf's picture




What? It's now all just pretending to be a market?

venturen's picture

There is no pretending...everyone knows it is just a fraud

barliman's picture


Humans might "misremember" who started a buy/sell frenzy!

Humans slow down trades!

Humans impede LIQUIDITY!!!!




barliman's picture

Not ..... yet

Wait for the always reliable "taxicab tip" indicator ... or in this case, when your driverless Google-cab tells you, "I can't open your door right now, Dave."

Pinto Currency's picture

Electronic only.

Killing all visual cues of what is going on - who can contest binary digits?

Goatboy's picture

Lie is slowly withering away.. nice.

Diablo's picture

So Rick Santelli is homeless now?


NoDebt's picture

I'm thinking yes.  It's just not going to have the same "punch" when he's just standing in the middle of a server farm with his white board.

NoPension's picture

Please don't tell me I won't get to see the guy in the cattle colored vest again.

jazznoir's picture

No. Rick should be OK. The options pits will still be there.

cigarEngineer's picture

Rick still takes smoke breaks on the street by McDonalds. His CNBC stuff is a side gig.

Yen Cross's picture

 I predict Apathy<>

nmewn's picture

lol...yeah, its what one makes of it.

In other news, Jordans king might just be a little pissed off...



Yen Cross's picture

 Thanks nmewn. Far as I knew, Jordan was a coalition partner from Day1?

  At least that's what the scatter brained "redhead" at the Shit House said.

Down to Earth Thinking's picture

now that was funny " the king is not Obama ? ". Interesting what gets people in an uproar ? nothing ever matters until it affect you directly ! 

g speed's picture

and thats the end of visable price discovery---sad--I once saw a ticker tape machine at a brokerage office---

bluskyes's picture

The local co-op used to have one running into a big trash can.

Anusocracy's picture

People are currently evolutionary short-timers.

NoDebt's picture

SkyNet just became self-aware.

NoPension's picture

Sell, Mortimer,sell! Turn those fucking machines back on!

venturen's picture

In two years Obama will be named president of the CME to complete the circus of the absurd

Down to Earth Thinking's picture

and Corzine will come out of hiding. 

disabledvet's picture

Sorry to hear they finally ran out of even one dollar to trade with.


Somewhere out there is Greek ship from three thousand years ago...transporting various foodstuffs in a symetrical vessel of equal size, weight and distribution.


The path She trods is a famliar one...but one not without risk.

A Lunatic's picture

There's always the mosh pit at a Cattle Decapitation Concert if they need a quick fix.....

Atomizer's picture

Sad times. Once the market gets hijacked, they will return humans rather than having controlled algorithmic glitches. It takes one time to get burnt. After someone loses Billions, it’s a no brainer. It will be determined that the attack was not a national security issue, but a HFT programmer working within Wall Street skimming money. Mark my words.

Kings of Leon - Closer (HQ)

docinthehouse's picture

This is a crying shame....

Mac Avelli's picture

Laugh all you want but I am sad. Back in the early 90's, I started as a runner on the floor of the CME taking orders from Refco's retail desk and delivering them into the pits. The pay was terrible, but the experience to learn and be a part of the markets was invaluable. Lot's of characters, too. I worked my way off the floor after a few months, during which time I earned my series 3.

A lot has happened since then, but it was definitely a big chapter in the story of my life. Never imagined all these years later I would be living in Hawaii, I sure don't miss the weather, winter or summer, in Chicago.

Par Contre's picture

I know what you mean. I started with Stotler on CME floor in 1989. It seemed like the center of the universe. R.I.P.


Muppet's picture

Same.  Lind-Waldock.   There was cheating on the floor, but not in nanoseconds.   Humans just can't scalp (cheat) as fast as machines.

RagnarRedux's picture


My first Futures broker, really liked them.

Peter K's picture

Member since 1986...

Very sad. :(

Peter K's picture

" Any more trading in butter?"

Conax's picture

The whole market can be under one roof, hell, in the same air-conditioned closet. The HFT computers can whirr and blink and inform us of the outcome on the official world markets website.  (only $39.99 a month)

It is a tidy package. 

cigarEngineer's picture

At the CBOT building we would tell new guys to go down to the lobby and ask the receptionist for the crop report and not to come back without it.


CME COCKSUCKERZ.  You will always be remembered for helping to facilitate the defrauding of the masses.  

BubbleBobble's picture

This is saddening...  as ruthless and lawless as the futures pits can be (and as stinking rich as some people got who probably didn't deserve it)  Open Outcry was unique... it was hard working class people operating within a culture of pure capitalism steeped in 100+ years of history.

Watch: The documentary Floored:


Read:  The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World's Oil Market



Clowns on Acid's picture

Pit Men replaced by

Bot Nets,

White men replaced by

Indians and Chinamen.