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Exchange Mergers Hit Roadblocks

Trading volumes for NYSE Euronext and the CME Group have spiked during the market turmoil. But their aggressive expansion plans face resistance

As the rare players who benefit from wild and crazy financial markets, the two biggest U.S. financial exchanges — the CME Group (CME) and NYSE Euronext (NYX) — reported strong earning on Feb. 5. But record trading volume and profits arrive amid signs that the exchanges' aggressive expansion plans may be running into trouble.

Market turmoil might put a strain on the economy and take big bites out of investors' portfolios, but the companies that run those markets benefit. "Whether people are selling or buying, there is activity on these exchanges," says Sang Lee, managing partner of the Aite Group, a consulting firm.