The financial exchange stocks remain one of the most interesting (and talked about) areas of the market. The news today should probably give one pause on the future returns in the sector.

The Daily Options Report wonders if the news that the AMEX is considering an IPO means a top in the group is near. When the weak sister begins contemplating jumping on what has been a very profitable bandwagon one should pause and re-examine one’s assumptions for the group.

Not to be ignored is the fact that the “inside value” of NYMEX shares has been jumping this week. Leah McGrath Goodman in the Wall Street Journal reports on the machinations occuring behind the scenes at the NYMEX. With an private equity investment as catalyst members are beginning to unlock the value of the exchange.

It is always difficult to call the top in a hot group. However keeping an eye on insiders and the actions of the tertiary players should give us some clue. Another clue is potential M&A activity in the group. We noted in a couple of our earlier posts (here & here) the potential for cross-Atlantic exchange mergers.