CHICAGO -- The executive chairman and the chairman emeritus of CME expressed their thoughts and sympathies yesterday after the death of Milton Friedman, a long-time supporter of U.S. derivatives markets.

Terry Duffy, CME executive chairman, said:

"On behalf of the CME Board of Directors and staff, I would like to express our deepest sympathy at the passing of Professor Milton Friedman. He will always be one of Chicago's most treasured icons -- a world renowned Nobel prize-winning economist, champion of free enterprise and a close friend to many at CME for more than 35 years. His vision, passion and contributions to economies and people everywhere have truly helped make the world a better place.

"Professor Friedman's views of the importance of free markets have been profoundly influential for decades, and remain so to this day. He will be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Leo Melamed, CME chairman emeritus, said:

"It is with a deep sense of historical grief that we note the passing of the greatest economist of the 20th century. Milton Friedman changed history and the lives of people all over the world. Indeed the world is so much a better place today as a consequence of his life, his teachings and his wisdom. His ideas touched us all. I personally have lost my mentor and closest ally in our common cause on behalf of the principles of free markets."

CME is the world's largest and most diverse financial exchange. As an international marketplace, CME brings together buyers and sellers on the CME Globex(R) electronic trading platform and on its trading floors. CME offers futures and options on futures in these product areas: interest rates, stock indexes, foreign exchange, agricultural commodities, energy, and alternative investment products such as weather, real estate and economic derivatives. CME is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc., which is part of the Russell 1000(R) Index and the S&P 500(R) Index.

SOURCE: CME via PR Newswire.