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Month-End Volume Rises 12.8 Percent From Previous Year Equity Options Sees Two Top Ten Trading Days In March

Chicago—April 3, 2003

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that March month-end equity options volume of 62,111,631 contracts (25,459,890 puts and 36,651,741 calls) rose 12.81 percent from 55,056,284 contracts (21,142,963 puts and 33,913,321 calls) in March 2002. The average daily equity volume for March was 2,957,697 contracts vs. 2,752,814 contracts from March 2002, which represents a 7.44 percent increase.

There were two trading days in March that were among the top ten highest trading days on record. The fifth highest trading day occurred on March 21 with 5,275,714 contracts, and the ninth highest equity trading day occurred on March 17 with 4,589,935 contracts.

"March's surge in volume shows the strength of the options market during volatile conditions," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "We're also encouraged by March's month-end volume, which is the biggest month we've had in 2003. The uncertain market conditions provide investors many opportunities to use equity options as a risk management tool."

Month-end equity open interest for March continued to climb for 2003 with 86,899,478 contracts. This represents a 13.62 percent increase from the previous year's 76,480,514 contracts and the highest month-end equity open interest year to date.

Equity open interest, the total number of options contracts not yet exercised or allowed to expire, is seen as an indication of longer-term investing in these instruments.

About OIC

OIC is a non-profit association funded by the American Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Securities Exchange, Pacific Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange and The Options Clearing Corporation. OIC's resources include: The Options Industry Services call center at 1-888-OPTIONS, an educational Web site at, evening seminars throughout the continental United States and Canada, instructional videos and educational literature and software.

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