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Equity Open Interest Continues Climb In March, Investor Inquires About Options Education On The Rise

ChicagoApril 3, 2002

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that March month-end equity open interest of 76,480,914 contracts rose 10.65 percent from 69,118,869 contracts in March 2001. At its highest point on March 15, equity open interest stood at 83,639,707 contracts.

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.

Month-end equity options volume for March was 55,056,284 contracts (21,142,963 puts and 33,913,321 calls) vs. 69,254,423 contracts (28,057,756 puts and 41,196,667 calls) in March 2001. Average daily equity volume for March was 2,621,728 contracts as compared to 3,147,928 contracts in 2001. The highest trading day for March occurred on March 4, when 4,139,186 contracts traded.

Additionally, OIC reported that for the first quarter, more investors contacted The Options Industry Services Call Center at 1-888-OPTIONS and attended OIC seminars, as compared to the same period last year. Year-to-date, OIC found the following:

  • 68 percent increase in the number of calls
  • 54 percent increase in the number of e-mails
  • 27 percent increase in seminar registration
  • 15 percent increase in seminar attendance

"We're encouraged that equity open interest remained strong in the first quarter despite the current lull in the overall market. At OIC, we're also encouraged that investors are showing a heightened interest in options education compared to the same period last year," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "During challenging market conditions, investors should look to reinforce their understanding of options."

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. In 2002, OIC is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of providing investors and brokers options education. OIC's resources include: The Options Industry Services call center at 1-888-OPTIONS, an educational Web site at www.888options.com, evening seminars throughout the continental United States and Canada, instructional videos and educational literature and software.

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