Surge In Equity Options Trading Continues With April Gains Open Interest Reaches New High Point at 63,292,614 Contracts

ChicagoMay 10, 2000

As the stock market experienced waves of volatility, investors continued to increase their use of equity options in April, according to figures released today by The Options Industry Council. The month's trading volume hit 55,549,490 contracts, up 48% from the April 1999 total of 37,656,322. And the daily average was 2,923,657, a sharp 63% increase from 1,793,158 in the comparable period last year. The year-to-date volume figure is 227,715,525.

An indication of the growing popularity of the options tool came on April 20, when equity open interest reached its peak, 63,292,614 contracts, a new record. 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.

An equity option is the right but not the obligation to either buy or sell 100 shares of stock at a predetermined price (strike price) on or before a fixed date (expiration date).

The Options Industry Council 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, Pacific Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange and The Options Clearing Corporation. OIC's free educational programs include: an educational Web site at www.optionscentral.com, evening seminars throughout the continental United States and Canada, instructional videos, educational brochures and interactive software. More information on available by visiting the Web site or calling 1-800-952-8665.

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