Days of Frenzy in the Energy Pits

On the trading floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, a veteran commodities dealer finds that oil price volatility is the new order

It had been a rather uneventful workday for Ray Carbone, a 47-year-old oil and gas trader who owns Paramount Options, a small energy commodities trading firm in New York. Perched on the outer edge of the options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange—one of six arenas on the floor where traders bellow and gesture wildly to move their wares—Carbone was biding his time. There had been a sharp decline in oil prices the previous day, refusing to break $60 a barrel for the third straight session. Other traders had started taking short positions, but Carbone remained stubbornly long on it for himself and his clients.

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