Banking & Finance

Merrill Lynch Is Positive Again on Financial Exchanges

The research team at the Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) unit Merrill Lynch is resuming coverage of the public financial exchanges.

IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE) was reinstated at Buy with a $170 price target as the transformational acquisition of NYSE Euronext Inc. (NYSE: NYX) is going well with strategic benefits as a result of the deal.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ) was reinstated at Buy with a $34 price target as the exchange has attractive cash flow and optionality, and it is well positioned with more stable non-transaction revenues and can take advantage of new growth opportunities in the near term. It also can target a pick-up in trading activity and can potentially pursue strategic options.

CBOE Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOE) was reinstated only with a Neutral rating and a $36 target price. The report said:

While we view CBOE as well positioned for a pick-up in trading volumes, to remain differentiated from peers (given proprietary and exclusive products), to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and for management to continue to manage its cost and capital base effectively, given the current valuation, somewhat sluggish volumes, and rising costs, we see limited upside.

Still, it is said to have over 90% of the index option market share.

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