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Equity Options Posted Highest Monthly Volume Ever In January New Record Also Set for Highest Volume Day

ChicagoFebruary 5, 1999

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that equity options trading soared to the highest monthly volume ever in January as 34,804,991 contracts changed hands, eclipsing the previous high of 31,125,854 set in October of 1998. The record volume number was a 41% increase from the 24,736,239 contracts traded in January of last year.

Additionally, a new record was set for the highest volume day on January 15, when 2,639,749 contracts exchanged hands. This exceeded the highest previous daily total set last October 16 by 287,432 contracts. Average daily volume for the month was 1,831,842 contracts.

Open interest, or the total number of options contracts not yet exercised or allowed to expire, reached 37,438,110 at its highest point on January 15. Open interest is one indication of longer-term investing in equity options.

"The high trading volume in January reflects investor sentiment that there are still ample profit opportunities in a market where volatility makes the sensible use of options more valuable than ever," said Paul Stevens, the OIC President.

An equity option is the right but not the obligation to either buy or sell 100 shares of stock at a predetermined price (strike price) on or before a fixed date (expiration date).

The OIC, which includes the American Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Pacific Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange and The Options Clearing Corporation, has an extensive educational program. The program, aimed at current and potential investors and their brokers, includes a web site at, an instructional video: "How To Optimize Your Stock Portfolio With Options" available at 800/952-8665, and free evening seminars throughout the continental United States.

Interactive educational software, "The Options Toolbox," is now available for free to seminar attendees. A print and broadcast advertising campaign has resulted in more than 225,000 inquiries seeking literature and videotapes.

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