After the debt ceiling deal in Washington and the downgrade of the United States' credit from AAA to AA+ by Standard & Poor's, American stock exchanges went into free-fall late last week and again on Monday, although they appear to be recovering on Tuesday.
Still, the news wasn't all bad for every major exchange. In fact, the Chicago Board of Options Exchange announced that it set back-to-back records of volume on Friday and Monday, while its shares resisted the sharp downward pull of the rest of the market.
The news isn't entirely unexpected. Options exchanges thrive on volatility above all, so when the markets move fast -- in either direction -- traders move on options and similar financial instruments.
In particular, the CBOE saw a product called VIX options, short for CBOE Volatility Index options, breaking records from earlier in the year. On Friday, 1,194,468 VIX options were traded, surpassing the previous record of 1,153,602 contracts from March of this year. But Friday's record didn't last long, as an even higher number of contracts was exchanged the following Monday, with volatility high as the Dow Jones dropped over 600 points.
Similar records were broken on the CBOE Futures Exchange and the C2 Options Exchange, the alternative, all-electronic market.
Meanwhile, shares of CBOE Holdings, Inc., the company that owns these exchanges, were among the best-performing in their class. Similar stocks like the CME Group, Nasdaq OMX, the Intercontinental Exchange, and NYSE Euronext all fell over 10 percent in the last five days, with Euronext plummeting more than 20 percent.
CBOE shares, traded on NASDAQ, were down less than five percent over the same time period.
As of 12 p.m. central time Tuesday, stocks were rebounding from their recent sell-offs with the Dow Jones up 175 points.