Reliant Resources ( RRI) put a sordid trading episode behind it Monday without much damage done, agreeing with the SEC not to commit future violations of securities laws. The settlement ends an investigation into so-called "round-tip" transactions by Reliant's energy trading unit, in which identical assets were bought and sold in order to create the impression of higher trading volume. Numerous energy traders are accused of engaging in the practice during the late 1990s and early 2000s, a time when perceptions of a vibrant trading business were good for a power company's stock. The situation is the other way around nowadays; most power companies, finding they were unable to game the energy market's volatility, have since closed their trading desks. Reliant decided to shutter its proprietary trading operation after managing to lose $80 million on a natural gas position over one weekend during the first quarter. Regarding the wash trades, the SEC claimed that between 1999 and 2001, Reliant carried out "significant same-day commodity trading transactions involving simultaneous, prearranged purchases and sales with the same counterparty for the same volume at the same price." Reliant neither admitted nor denied guilt and wasn't fined. Its shares were recently up 5% at $5.58.