IEM, Partner To Open Hurricane Market

Storm watchers, listen up. If you think you have the weather knowledge and financial fortitude, you'll soon have the chance to bet for -- or against -- the coastline nearest you. A trio of professors at the University of Miami is launching an electronic futures market to forecast where a hurricane will make landfall in the United States. Traders who buy or sell the right spot at the right time can cash in, maybe clearing enough profit to buy a small generator. Here's how the market is designed to work: Investors can open accounts by sending any amount from $5 to $500 to the Iowa Electronic Markets, or IEM, which is operated by the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, a University of Miami partner. All IEM transactions are made electronically and posted in real time. As soon as a tropical storm earns a name, the market will open, and online trading will begin. Depending where the storm is at the time, it will be declared an Atlantic or a Gulf storm, and only contracts, or shares, for that U.S. coastline will be sold. The same story appeared on the Web site of the ORLANDO SENTINEL.