Is rain a good investment?

The rain soaked pavement outside Liverpool Lime Street Station reflects the colours of an illuminated advertising hoarding as commuters make their way to work on October 26, 2010 in Liverpool, England. After the recent cold spell heavy rain has returned to the UK, bringing back normal temperatures.

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JEREMY HOBSON: The futures market at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is getting a little bigger today. And as Tony Arnold Reports from Chicago Public Radio, today's changes give new meaning to making the most of a rainy day.


Tony Arnold: The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is known for selling agricultural commodities and futures, things like corn, wheat and hogs. But starting today -- there's a new game in town.

Rain.

Anyone can now bet on a rainy day. Literally.

Tim Andriessen is with the Mercantile Exchange.

Tim Andriessen: There's really no science or art in terms of long-term forecasts so that uncertainty is actually what makes an opportunity for products like this.

Andriessen says any business affected by weather -- from farms to concert venues -- could find rain futures beneficial. If that concert is rained out, the organization running the show could still make money.

The mercantile exchange already sells futures for temperature, frost, snow -- even hurricanes.

Gilbert Sebenste: There's just about nothing that you can't make money from anymore if you really want to.

Gilbert Sebenste is a meteorologist at Northern Illinois University, but he doesn't plan to start buying rain futures. He says even weathermen can't predict the weather months in advance.

In Chicago, I'm Tony Arnold for Marketplace.

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