10.12.2011
By Markets Media

Options In Demand

Interest in trading options contracts has been massive over the last several years, but 2011 has been a grand slam in terms of interest in options and volumes.

Earlier this month, the Options Industry Council released the numbers for options trading volume in September. 391,246,939 contracts were traded compared with 302,075,193 contracts last year – nearly a 30 percent increase year over year.

Attendees at the 2011 FIA Expo in Chicago recognized the growth in the asset class, with many attributing the growth to market conditions and the need for the ability to hedge against a possible downturn. Equities have since reversed and switched to a bull market and the options market recognizes trader sentiment respectively. Puts on the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) have surged tremendously this week and last, signaling that investors are convinced the current bull market will be sustained.

One trader at the CBOE noted that they had noticed a dramatic rise in VIX put trading this week.

“Traders have been going crazy. The VIX pit at CBOE is insanely loud because everyone’s adjusting their strategy,” the trader told Markets Media. “The VIX enjoyed its rally thanks to the crisis in Europe, but now that that’s calmed down, everyone’s betting that not only will the markets continue to rise, but volatility will decrease as well.”

They also noted that the amount of options per trade had increased as well. Should Europe smooth over, equities and call option premiums are expected to continue their winning streak.

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