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Year-End Equity Options Surpasses Previous Year Volume by 16.98 Percent OIC Reviews 2003 Records, Accomplishments

Chicago—January 7, 2004

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that total equity options volume reached 830,308,227 contracts, exceeding the 709,784,014 total equity volume options contracts traded in 2002 by 16.98 percent. This year's volume set a new annual volume record, surpassing the previous record set with 722,680,249 contracts in 2001.

December month-end equity options volume of 81,949,824 contracts (30,065,926 puts and 51,883,898 calls) rose 68.12 percent from 48,743,329 contracts (20,478,728 puts and 28,264,601 calls) in December 2002. At its highest point on December 19, equity options volume hit 4,955,119 contracts. This is the seventh highest day for equity options volume.

December average daily equity options volume was 3,724,992 contracts vs. 2,321,111 contracts in December 2002. This indicates a 60.48 percent increase.

"The record-breaking equity options volume is outstanding," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "As we enter 2004 with a bull market, we believe investors will continue to increase their usage of this viable and diverse investment product. We look forward to another year of educating investors and brokers through our free Web site, call center and live seminars."

Month-end equity open interest for December 2003 was 121,897,374 contracts, a 30.89 percent increase vs. 93,122,926 contracts from December 2002. This also represents a new record for month-end equity open interest, surpassing the previous record set in October with 121,322,298 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.

A Review of 2003

Records In addition to hitting a new annual equity options volume record, these additional records were set during 2003.

  • Month-end equity options volume record - October - 88,444,046 contracts. The previous record was July 2002 with 75,488,393 contracts.
  • Highest single trading day in 2003 for equity volume - Oct. 17 - 5,600,929 contracts. This also represented the fourth highest trading day on record. During 2003, three additional single trading days hit the top 10 volume days for equity options.
  • Average daily equity options volume - October - 3,845,393 contracts.

More details on historical equity options trading data is available in the "Market Data" section of the OIC Web site at www.888options.com.

A Review of OIC Educational Efforts in 2003

In February, OIC introduced Options University (OU), a comprehensive educational mini site that offers a variety of online options classes, strategy tools and other educational resources. After students register, they have full access to all the educational tools offered within OU and can learn at their own pace, at their own computer. Since its inception, OU has seen 9,120 registrants.

OIC continued to offer its free educational seminars nationwide in more than 90 cities. In 2003, OIC introduced two live seminars: Directional Strategies: Trading Market Direction with Listed Options and Advanced Options for the Real World. OIC also introduced two new online classes: Options Strategies in a Bull Market and Buying Puts.

Other OIC highlights from 2003

OIC Web site - www.888options.com

  • 9.1 million page views in 2003 vs. 4 million in 2002
  • An average of 835,500 page views per month (a 132 percent increase over 2002)
  • Over 19,000 subscriptions for OIC's broadcast e-mail lists

OIC Call Center - 1-888-Options or options@theocc.com

  • 56,000 calls/emails to 1-888-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. OIC's free 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, educational literature and software.

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