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OIC Announces Month-End Equity Open Interest Increases 10.3 Percent

Chicago—March 5, 2003

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that February month-end equity open interest increased to 80,569,590 contracts vs. 73,025,894 contracts during the same time period last year. This represents a 10.3 percent increase. At its highest point on Feb. 21, equity open interest stood at 88,811,978 contracts.

Equity open interest is the total number of options contracts not yet exercised or allowed to expire.

February equity options volume was 49,898,422 contracts (21,884,652 puts and 28,013,770 calls), vs. volume from the previous year of 55,369,890 contracts (24,299,894 puts and 31,069,996 calls).

"In February, we saw moderate options trading volume, reflecting the uncertainties confronting investors," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "However, we are encouraged that investors are spending a great deal of time accessing OIC's online classes, and their interest in our educational materials and our options call center is very high. We believe that increased investor education about the options product will translate into future growth in the market."

Average daily equity options volume for February was 2,626,233 contracts, from 2,914,205 contracts in February 2002. The highest trading day for equity options volume occurred on Feb. 21 when 3,740,828 contracts traded.

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, evening seminars throughout the continental United States and Canada, instructional videos and educational literature and software.

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