August 12, 2004 | San Francisco ChronicleSeveral web sites allow betting on Google's highly anticipated initial public offering in prelude to the main Wall Street event. People can wager on whether the company's shares will rise or fall in the first day of trading and their percentage change in value. Money is also being placed on what the firm's market capitalization will be. A legal option for placing money on Google is IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS, at tippie.uiowa.edu/iem/, which is operated by the University of Iowa faculty. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the body that oversees the futures industry, sanctioned the market as long as there are no paid advertisements, no trading fees and no trader accounts bigger than $500. Traders can buy and sell contracts related to Google or other topics such as the 2004 presidential election, Federal Reserve monetary policies and Microsoft's stock price. The most active of the Iowa Google markets is predicting the company's market capitalization at the end of its first day of trading. Traders have a choice of ranges in $5 billion increments.
Contact: Forrest Nelson