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New Year - New Records Monthly Equity Options Volume Mark Set in January, Fourth Consecutive Month

ChicagoFebruary 7, 2000

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that in January, for the fourth month in a row, equity options volume reached a new high with 56,190,292 contracts changing hands. This surpasses the January 1999 total by 61% (34,804,991 contracts).

At its peak on January 21, open interest stood at its highest point ever with 62,243,857 open contracts. This tops the old record of 56,243,857 contracts set just a month earlier on December 17, 1999. Equity open interest is the total number of options contracts not yet exercised or allowed to expire and is one indication of longer-term investing in equity options.

Average daily equity options volume in January was 2,809,515 contracts, up from 1,831,842, or 53%, over the same period last year.

"After an astounding year in 1999, equity options use is continuing to soar," said Paul Stevens, OIC's President. "I thoroughly believe that because of our educational initiatives, as well as those of others, individual investors are learning how to use options advantageously. "OIC offers free videos and seminars to those interested in learning more about options.

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).

OIC, which includes the American Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Pacific Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange and The Options Clearing Corporation, has an extensive educational program. The program, aimed at current and potential investors and their brokers, includes the following free resources: a web site at, evening seminars throughout the continental United States and Canada, two instructional videos: "How To Optimize Your Stock Portfolio With Options" and "Investing with LEAPS" (available at 800/952-8665), and "The Options Toolbox" educational software available through the 800 number or web site. A print and broadcast advertising campaign has resulted in more than 250,000 inquiries seeking OIC's educational products.

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