Just in case you were wondering how investors can make money off the attempted rescue of the nation's financial system by taxpayers, Nasdaq's Philadelphia options market and Susquehanna Investments, Bala Cynwyd, have set up a new index of U.S. stocks in companies that have gotten federal government bailouts.
Stock options in the Nasdaq OMX Government Relief Index start trading today, Nasdaq said. Susquehanna is the specialist firm that will oversee the market, which Nasdaq called "the only existing benchmark that enables investors to track the performance of U.S.-listed securities that are participating in U.S. government sponsored relief programs such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)."
The index includes financial giants Citigroup, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs; troubled insurer American International Group; General Motors; specialty lenders like Capital One and CIT; and the largest regional banks, such as PNC. For a list, see Nasdaq's statement here.
Nasdaq bought the Philadelphia Stock Exchange last year in part to give it a platform for rolling out sector indexes, which allow investors to bet on a group of stocks in a similar industry. The Government Relief Index "is the first of several products" that will let investors bet on "the companies most directly affected by the current relief efforts," said Nasdaq OMX Global Index Group head John Jacobs in the statement. "Susquehanna's participation will serve to enhance liquidity and efficiency," said Nasdaq OMX PHLX president Thomas Wittman.