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February Equity Options Volume Up 14.5 Percent Average daily volume surpasses 3 million contracts

ChicagoMarch 8, 2001

The Option Industry Council (OIC) today announced that February volume reached 57,024,495 contracts (22,550,170 puts and 34,474,325 calls), a 14.5 percent increase over 49,803,089 contracts (15,278,584 puts and 34,524,506 calls) in February 2000.

Average daily volume in February was 3,001,289 contracts, an increase of 20.5 percent over 2,490,154 contracts in February 2000. Year-to-date equity options volume is 130,309,379 contracts, a 23 percent increase over the same time frame in 2000 when 105,993,381 contracts traded.

Open interest reached its highest point on Feb. 16 with 68,080,110 open contracts. Equity open interest is the total number of options contracts not yet exercised or allowed to expire, and is one indication of longer term investing in equity options.

"Volatility fuels activity in the options markets, and that's why we continue to see growth in volume," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "Whether an investor is conservative, short-term or growth oriented, there are appropriate options strategies for each investment situation. We encourage investors to talk to their brokers or take advantage of OIC's educational resources to learn about these possibilities."

The 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 (6784), or sending e-mail to options@theocc.com.

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