OIC Announces Month-End Options Volume Rises 73 Percent

Chicago—March 4, 2004

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that February equity options volume was 86,325,774 contracts (32,826,566 puts and 53,499,208 calls), increasing 73 percent vs. 49,898,422 contracts (21,884,652 puts and 28,013,770 calls) in February 2003.

On Feb. 20, equity options volume reached its peak for the month with 6,741,027 contracts and achieved a place on the top 10 list as the second highest day on record for equity options volume.

"The trend toward high options volume continued in February," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "We attribute the high options volumes to a renewed interest by investors in the equity market and the use of options not only for speculation but also for protection through hedging. We encourage investors to take advantage of the many free educational offerings that OIC provides so they make well-informed decisions in this strong options market."

February month-end equity open interest was 110,201,254 contracts vs. 80,569,590 contracts in February 2003. This represents a 36.77 percent increase. At its highest point on Feb. 20, equity open interest stood at 122,691,744 contracts.

Equity open interest is the total number of options contracts not yet exercised or allowed to expire. Average daily equity options volume for February was 4,543,462 contracts vs. 2,626,233 contracts from February 2003, representing a 73 percent increase. The highest trading day for equity options volume occurred on Feb. 20 when 6,741,027 contracts traded.

For more information about daily volume statistics, please visit OIC's Web site at www.888options.com/volume.jsp.

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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