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February Equity Options Volume Up 85% From 1999

ChicagoMarch 8, 2000

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that equity options volume for February was 49,803,089 contracts - surpassing the February 1999 total by an astounding 85% (26,955,448 contracts).

Open interest reached its highest point this month on February 18 with 50,540,080 open contracts. 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.

"Investor use of equity options continues to surge," said Paul Stevens, OIC's President. "The significant growth in volume that we are experiencing in this market shows that investors are increasingly interested and highly confident in using equity options to hedge against risk or capitalize on the market's volatility."

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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