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High Anxiety in Chicago’s Financial District

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The Dow plunged as much as 800 points before closing Monday with a loss of about 350. All that volatility increased anxiety in Chicago’s financial district.

As their markets closed for the day, brokers streamed outside the Chicago Board of Trade, one the world’s largest futures exchanges. Futures are contracts to buy a commodity or a financial instrument like cash at another time.

There’s plenty of money to be made here, even when stock prices are plummeting. Eric Martinez trades at the Chicago Board.

MARTINEZ: You can hedge risk on the way down. We did a lot of that for our clients today and actually ended up making them some money in the process.

But that pursuit is not for the faint of heart. John Miya trades interest-rate futures. He says today’s mood on the Board of Trade floor approached panic.

MIYA: Usually we like volatility but it’s a little too volatile to make people happy right now. You’re ability to make or lose money is dramatically accelerated.

Many traders say they aren’t expecting the economy to rebound anytime soon.

I’m Chip Mitchell, Chicago Public Radio.

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