The world's largest asset management firm will be the first to list securities on a BATS Global Markets electronic venue that now competes for listings on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market. BlackRock will list eight single-country ETFs with BATS. Based on MSCI Indexes, the ETFs will cover: Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, India, Norway and the U.K. The Norway fund will start trading Jan. 24 and the other funds soon after.

NYSE-DB Merger Still Deadlocked

The European Commission has postponed its decision on its $11.2 billion NYSE Euronext-Deutsche Boerse merger yet again, until Feb. 9.

EC Commissioner Joaquín Almunia wants one or the other merger parties to sell a derivatives businesss. The bid would create the world's biggest exchange holding company.

Hedge Fund Bonuses Disappoint

With performance under par, hedge fund managers got smaller year-end bonuses for 2011, according to the Hedge Fund Compensation Report (see chart).

The average cash compensation in 2011 was $311,000, up only slightly from 2010 and supported by a larger increase in base pay, according to the report. Data was collected from hundreds of hedge fund managers and employees. Hedge Fund Compensation Report did not break out figures for average base salaries and bonuses, but there have been reports of Wall Street bonuses declining by 30% to 40%.

In 2011, only 16% of hedge fund managers said they delivered double-digit returns, down from 45% in 2010. Another 22% said they expect their fund to decline 10% or less, up from 3% who expected these declines the year before.

"Given the drop in fund performance this year, hedge fund professionals fared pretty well," said David Kochanek, publisher of "Except for only a few positions in the firm, increases in base pay more than covered the lower bonuses."

With performance waning, compensation declining and redemptions on the rise, some hedge fund professionals think they see the writing on the wall for upcoming layoffs. While roughly one in four hedge funds is looking for research analysts, virtually no other hiring is going on in the industry.

NYSE Euronext Volume Drops 10.6% in U.S.

NYSE Euronext U.S. stock volume declined 10.6% in December. Meanwhile, trading volume gained in European stocks, as well as futures and options contracts, the operator of the New York Stock Exchange said.

In Europe, NYSE Euronext handled 1.3 million transactions during the month, a 9.0% increase against December 2010, but down 19.9% from November 2011 levels.

Also in December, NYSE Euronext handled 7.5 million derivatives contracts, globally. That was an 11.8% increase from a year earlier.

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