Third-quarter profit jumped 34% from a year earlier at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) - Get Report driven by solid gains in trading of futures contracts.

The CME says it made $103.8 million in the quarter, or $2.95 a share, up from $77.5 million, or $2.22 a share, beating the average estimate.

However, revenue, which rose 21.7%, to $274.7 million, fell short of expectations. Analysts, according to Thomson Financial, were predicting the Chicago Merc to earn $2.87 a share on revenue of $285.7 million.

The CME says average daily volume reached 5.4 million contracts during the third quarter, an increase of 28% from a year ago, while trading on its CME Globex electronic trading platform rose 32%, to 3.8 million contracts per day from 2.9 million contracts. The exchange says electronic volume represents 71% of its total trading volume in the quarter.

A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a commodity at predetermined price, which can be traded on the CME. The exchange also is a major marketplace for the trading of derivatives -- sophisticated financial contracts often used as a hedge against a change in value of an underlying security or asset.

As the wave of consolidation continues in the exchange sector, last week the CME agreed to purchase the

Chicago Board of Trade


for approximately $8 billion. The deal will create CME Group, a trading powerhouse for derivatives and future contracts, valued at $25 billion, with an average daily trading volume of about 9 million contracts a day.