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April Equity Volume Reaches A Six Month High Year-to-date volume surpasses 2002

Chicago—May 5, 2003

The Options Industry Council (OIC) announced today that April month-end equity options volume of 64,245,844 contracts (26,365,068 puts and 37,880,776 calls) reached its highest level since October 2002, when month-end volume was 70,266,228 contracts. April month-end volume increased 9.88 percent from 58,465,344 contracts (24,202,346 puts and 34,262,998 calls) in April 2002.

Year-to-date equity volume of 238,397,078 contracts is 8.95 percent higher than volume during the same time period in 2002 when 236,280,663 contracts traded.

"This year's options volume and equity open interest growth shows the strength of the options market during difficult market conditions," said Paul Stevens, President, OIC. "The continued rise of equity open interest indicates that investors are using options as a long-term and strategic investment tool."

Month-end equity open interest for April continued its climb with 90,051,390 contracts. This represents a 19.21 percent increase from the previous year's 75,534,666 contracts and the highest month-end equity open interest year-to-date.

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.

The average daily equity volume for April was 3,059,326 contracts vs. 2,657,516 contracts from April 2002, which represents a 15.1 percent increase. The highest trading day for April occurred on April 17, when 4,732,420 contracts exchanged hands.

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 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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