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Chicago pit traders plan to defy today's arctic freeze.

Byline: Lydia Mulvany Bloomberg

Scott Shellady, known in the trading pits of Chicago for his trademark "cow jacket," isnt going to let todays historic blast of Arctic freeze keep him away from the options pits at the worlds largest derivatives exchange, even though many of the citys workers are planning to hunker down at home.

"I come from a family of farmers," said Shellady, who commutes into the city from northwest Indiana. "And theres a word in English that describes the weather were having: Winter."

That may be a bit of Midwest meteorological bluster. The brutally cold weather is expected to make temperatures warmer above the Arctic Circle than in Chicago. Itll be 21 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in the Windy City today and minus-24 on Thursday, according to forecasts.

But traders are a resilient bunch, Shellady said. After all, in recent years theyve endured worse, like the closure of most of the Chicago Mercantile Exchanges futures trading pits.

P.J. Quaid, a corn options broker, said pit traders have to be in the pit. Otherwise, competitors could try to poach clients. He recalled February 2011, when a storm dumped two feet of snow in Chicago and firms "took out hotel floors because they had to be there for work," he said. In case his car doesnt start on Wednesday, he has another one in the garage.

"Im gonna be there," he said. "You just dress warm and go. Thats part of being an options broker."

Virginia McGathey, president of McGathey Commodities, will also be trading in the options pits as usual, working with a skeleton crew. There will be some no-shows, she said, as today could be the perfect snow day. The markets have been slow, with the lack of information due to the government shut down.

"Its going to be like sitting around and watching paint dry while watching to see if the government numbers are actually going to come out," McGathey said.

Other companies arent toughing it out, though. Alan Reed, executive director of the Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network, canceled this evenings event for the industry. Their venue, WeWork, wont be staffed, he said, and those who registered from companies like The Mars Wrigley Confectionery and Kraft Heinz Co. called in to cancel.

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Title Annotation:Business wire_
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:0ARCT
Date:Jan 30, 2019
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