Nasdaq OMX's $750 million deal to buy the eSpeed platform for trading U.S. Treasurys in the secondary market was a bet that the federal government will keep maxing out the nation's credit card, Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld told CNBC on Tuesday.
"It's a pretty good bet," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "To the extent that they spend more money than they take in, they have to then obviously raise money through debt financing. They do that through U.S. Treasurys."
The eSpeed acquisition from BGC Partners will give Nasdaq an entry point into the electronic fixed income business.
Nasdaq will "do well" based on the purchase price in the current trading environment for Treasurys, which is being artificially held back by the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program, Greifeld said.
"We believe the Fed will stop the buying. We're not predicting when, but we predict they will [stop] that unnatural buying," he said.
When that happens, he added, "the rest of the inventory will come to a natural market environment of a higher rate of trading" because the Fed purchases just sit on its balance sheet.
The eSpeed transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings within the first 12 months after closing, excluding transaction-related costs, Nasdaq said.
As for stocks, a "bull market scenario" should boost equity trading volumes, Greifeld said. "We see inflows coming into the equity world for the first time in the last four-five years. I'd say the inflows are dominated going into passive investment."
He questioned when "active investing" will come back into vogue. "What's missing in this environment is what I call the 'star money manager.' We don't have a Bill Miller or Peter Lynch something branded funds ... available to all investors."