The bull and bear cases for exchange stocks ahead of bitcoin futures

The crypto craze has taken Wall Street by storm, and it's giving a boost to two exchange stocks.

The CME Group announced in late October its plans to launch bitcoin futures trading, which is now set to debut Dec. 18. The cryptocurrency hit a new high shortly after the announcement. In the last two months, the stock has advanced 11 percent.

Meanwhile, Cboe Global Markets announced earlier this week it would debut its futures trading on Dec. 10. The exchange's foray into the space was evident earlier this year; Cboe's stock price has gained 15 percent in the last two months.

The announcements come as bitcoin's price has rocketed over 200 percent higher in the last two months alone.

On a technical basis, Cboe as a stock looks relatively stronger than the CME when taking a look at a ratio chart of the two, said Todd Gordon, founder of

But on a longer-term basis, he said, the CME still appears to have broken out through long-term resistance.

"The longer-term prospect for CME looks very solid. We've broken above a long-term, pre-2008 high in CME, so that's about a $145 breakout. We're through that, which looks very solid," Gordon said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Others are less optimistic about the exchanges and its bitcoin futures launch, given the underlying asset's extreme volatility and the relatively unknown nature of how the futures trading will impact bitcoin's price.

While the futures trading could offer some benefits to bitcoin's price and its investors, said Michael Bapis, partner and managing director at The Bapis Group at HighTower Advisors, it could prove quite chaotic.

"I liken it to the new iPhone coming out. Everybody wants it, everybody waits in line for it, then it shakes out and you see the real value of it and the real sales growth of it. I think it's the same thing with bitcoin, going on these two exchanges," Bapis said Thursday on "Trading Nation."

He's not buying the exchange stocks anytime soon.

"When the underlying security is not regulated, and they are coming out fresh to the market, I would be a little skeptical on those stocks short-term. Long-term, if they make it work, they're going to see some value there," he added.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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