Again bad news ! Delays hit new futures trading September 9, 2002 BY DAVID ROEDER BUSINESS REPORTER A new frontier in futures trading still beckons speculators and securities firms, but getting there demands a longer journey than expected. As of next Friday, single-stock futures are legal investment products in the United States. They'll allow investors for the first time to deal in a future on a single, popular stock--such as Coca-Cola or General Electric--much like they can trade a contract tied to the price of corn. But there will be no place to trade stock futures for a while. Despite talk of a September start a few weeks ago, two of the exchanges set up for the product now say they won't be ready until well into October. And that might be optimistic. Some insiders attribute the delay to a lack of interest from large brokerages too preoccupied with Wall Street bearishness to ponder a new type of derivative. R. David Gary, spokesman for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said that with trading firms "concerned about what's going on in the primary market, there's no overwhelming rush'' to adapt computer systems for stock futures. The CFTC is the federal agency that governs futures trading. Legislation allowing single-stock futures was made possible by an accord between the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency that polices stock trading, in late 2000. Other experts said the delay comes from last-minute regulatory wrangles, even though the CFTC and SEC agreed Aug. 2 on overall rules. Brokerage's reluctance to plan for stock futures probably reflects normal resistance to anything new, some said. William Rainer, chairman of a stock-futures exchange that's a joint venture of the Chicago markets, said interest in the product has grown since the federal agencies gave it a green light. "The old competitive juices are flowing now that the rules are out,'' he said. He said his operation, OneChicago LLC, will be ready for business in late October or, if hitches develop, early November. OneChicago is owned by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. Another major competitor is Nasdaq Liffe Markets LLC, a partnership of Nasdaq and London's futures exchange. Spokesman Ray Carmichael said Nasdaq Liffe is planning a launch sometime in October. Also approved for carrying stock futures is the Island electronic trading network. An Island spokesman said the system would start trading later than the other exchanges, probably by early 2003.