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Stock Trading on Exchanges Dropped 2.4%, WFE Says

Equities trading on exchanges globally fell 2.4 percent in the first half, led by declines in the U.S. and Europe, according to data provided by members of the World Federation of Exchanges.

The number of trades executed electronically dropped to 5.11 billion from 5.24 billion in the same period last year, WFE said in a statement today. The Asia-Pacific region bucked the trend, with transacations increasing to 3.22 billion from 3.06 billion. Trading rose 12 percent from the second half of 2012, WFE said.

The numbers come as exchanges start to release second-quarter results. Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the operator of the second-largest U.S. stock exchange, yesterday said quarterly profit declined on costs associated with acquisitions. Deutsche Boerse AG, operator of the Eurex derivatives exchange and the Frankfurt stock exchange, will post earnings today and NYSE Euronext reports next week.

Derivatives trading rose 14 percent in the first half to 10.1 billion contracts, WFE said. Single-stock options were the most actively traded derivative, with volumes rising 6 percent to 2.06 billion.

The number of derivatives traded on exchanges worldwide fell last year for the first time since 2004, according to data from WFE. About 21 billion contracts changed hands on exchanges last year, down from 25 billion in 2011. Commodity derivatives were the only asset class that grew, the industry group said.

WFE is a 59-member trade association for exchange operators that develops and promotes standards in markets.

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