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May Volume Up 26.3 Percent Over 2000 Month-end Equity Open Interest Hits New High

ChicagoJune 5, 2001

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that May equity options volume reached 64,459,491 contracts (23,785,314 puts and 40,674,177 calls), a 26.3 percent increase over the 51,028,369 contracts (17,850,543 puts and 33,177,826 calls) traded in May 2000.

Month-end equity open interest reached a new high with 73,644,995 contracts, surpassing the previous month-end high set in April with 69,532,549 contracts. It also represents a 40.3 percent increase over month-end equity open interest of 52,503,870 contracts in April 2000.

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.

"May's uncertain market environment lent itself to more conservative options strategies such as writing covered calls, or buying protective puts," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "Knowledge of the benefits and risks associated with these and other options strategies will be investors' greatest assets in the months ahead."

Average daily equity options volume in May was 2,929,977 contracts, 26.3 percent increase over 2,319,471 contracts traded in May 2000. Year-to-date equity options volume is 334,533,910 contracts, a 20 percent increase over the same time frame in 2000 when 278,743,394 contracts traded.

OIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 by the nation's options exchanges to provide investor education about equity options. Today, its members include The American Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Securities Exchange, Pacific Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange and The Options Clearing Corporation. OIC's free educational programs include: an educational Web site at www.888options.com, evening seminars throughout the continental United States and Canada, instructional videos, educational brochures and interactive software. More information on these resources is available by visiting the Web site, calling 1-888-OPTIONS, or sending an e-mail to options@theocc.com.

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