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CBOE Offers Traders Quickies

In a culture of diminishing attention spans, where people choose instant gratification over long-term commitment, and where the concept that everyone should be famous for 15 minutes has become frighteningly achievable, it makes perfect sense to turn options expiration, which had been a once-a-month event, into a weekly occurrence.

Filling this gaping need on Oct. 28, the Chicago Board Options Exchange will begin listing Weeklies, or Quickies in industry parlance, which are options that have just a one-week life span.

Like other new products that take advantage of electronic technology and accelerate the rate at which trades and strategies can be implemented, weekly options are a logical and innovative addition to an existing trading tool. But they come with a their own set of limitations, obstacles and risks.

The new options will be tied to the Mini-SPX Index, a newly created index that is based on the S&P 500 but will be based on one-tenth the value of the S&P 500 stock index. For example, if the S&P 500 Index is at 1220, the Mini-SPX would have a value of 122. The Mini-SPX Options (XSP) contract option specifications will be consistent with standard SPX index options: a multiplier of $100, cash settlement and European-style exercise (meaning options can be exercised only on expiration Friday), but as with SPX options, the last day of trading will be the Thursday prior to expiration.

Weeklies will be listed on a week-to-week basis, starting on Friday and expiring the following Friday, for three weeks a month. There will be no weekly options listed that overlap the existing monthly expiration date that occurs on the third Friday of the month. Initial strike prices will be in dollar increments, and there will be only five strikes per expiration -- two in-the-money, one at-the-money and two out-of the-money strikes.

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