First Quarter Volume Reaches All-Time High March Volume Rises 58.5 Percent From Previous Year

Chicago—April 8, 2004

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that first quarter equity options volume reached an all-time quarterly high of 291,237,281 contracts. The previous quarterly record occurred in the fourth quarter of 2003 with 241,320,958 contracts.

March month-end equity options volume of 98,495,250 contracts rose 58.5 percent from 62,111,631 contracts (25,459,890 puts and 36,651,741 calls) in March 2003. The average daily equity volume for March was 4,282,402 contracts vs. 2,957,697 contracts from March 2003, which represents a 44.8 percent increase. The highest point for equity options volume occurred on March 10 with 5,624,150 contracts.

"The first quarter's surge in volume shows the continued growth and strength of the options market," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "We're also encouraged by March's month-end volume. Current market conditions provide investors many opportunities to use equity options as a risk management tool."

Month-end equity open interest for March was 119,954,201 contracts vs. 86,899,478 contracts, representing a 38 percent increase. The equity open interest high point for March occurred on March 19 with 130,103,265 contracts.

Year to date equity volume is 291,237,281 contracts vs. 174,151,234 contracts through March 2003. This represents a 38 percent increase.

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.

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, instructional videos and educational literature and software.

Press Contacts

Debbie Baratz
312-322-6267
dbaratz@theocc.com
Pam Tvrdy
312-322-9853
ptvrdy@theocc.com
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