If you trade equity options, you may have noticed something different lately when you call up an options chain on one of your favorite stocks. What's that something different? One-point strikes are now offered on more securities.
The original one-point strike program sought by the exchanges and approved by the SEC included up to five individual stocks on each exchange. "To be eligible for the [original] Program, an underlying stock must close below $20 in its primary market on the previous trading day," SEC document No. 34-57110: File No. SR-Amex-2007-141 spelled out. Exchanges could list one-point strikes anywhere from $3.00 to $20.00 as long as none of those were more than $5 "from the underlying stock's closing price in the primary market on the previous day." The one-point strikes could not be employed on equity option classes that were more than nine months away from expiration.
Other rules were included, too, but the intention of the exchanges, the SEC said, had been to provide more flexibility in choosing equity options positions. After the initial program was established, exchanges such as the AMEX clamored for an expansion of the program, both in terms of the number of equities on which one-point strikes could be listed and on the maximum high price of those equities.
On June 11, 2009, the Options Industry Council announced that the SEC had approved an expansion of the program, also making permanent the ability to list those one-point strikes. Exchanges can now list one-point strikes for up to fifty-five individual equities with prices of $50.00 or less. Again, the exchanges are prohibited from listing a one-point strike that is greater than $5 from the stock's closing price the previous day, with that closing price determined on its primary market.
The OIC's article listed 259 equities that would be included in the expanded one-point strike program. With the warning that the participating entities could change, those participating as of June 11, 2009 were AA, ABH, ABT, ABX, ACI, ADBE, ADM, ADP, ADSK, AFL, AIG, AKAM, AKS, ALL, ALTR, AMAT, AMD, AMR, AMX, ANF, APC, ARNA, ARO, ATVI, AUY, AVP, AXP, BA, BAC, BBBY, BBT, BBY, BHI, BK, BMY, BP, BRCD, BRCM, BSX, BTU, BX, C, CAL, CAT, CCJ, CCL, CECO (Career Education), CECO (Celgene), CHK, CLF, CMCSA, CMCSK, CMI, CNQ,
CNX, COF, COH, COP, CRM, CROX, CSCO, CSX, CTX, CVS, CX, CY, DAL, DD, DE, DELL, DHI, DIS, DISH, DLTR, DNDN, DOW, DPTR, DRI, DRYS, DUK, EBAY, EK, ELN, EMC, EMR, ENER, EP, ERTS, ETFC, EXM, F, FCX, FITB, FNM, FRE, FWLT, GE, GFI, GG, GILD, GLW, GM, GME, BNK, HAL, HANS, HBAN, HBC, HD, HIG, HK, HMY, HNZ, HOG, HON, HOT, HPQ, HRB, HUM, IBN, INTC, IP, IPI, JAVA, JCP, JDSU, JUNPR, JOYG, JPM, JWN, KBR, KEY, KFT, KGC, KLAC, KSS, LEN, LLTC, LM, LNC, LOW, LUV, LVS, M, MBI, MCO, MDR, MDT, MEDX, MEE, MER, MET, MGM, MO, MOT, MRK, MRO, MRVL, MS, MSFT, MT, MU, NE, NEM, NLY, NOK, NOV, NSC, NSM, NTAP, NTES, NUE, NVDA, NYB, NYX, ORCL, PALM, PBR, PCAR, PEI, PFE, PFG, PHM, PM, PNC, PRU, QCOM, RF, RMBS, RRI, RTN, RYL, S, SAP, SBUX, SCHW, SGP, SGR, SHLD, SIRI, SLM, SMH, SNDK, SO, SPG, SPLS, SPWRA, SQM, SSRI, STI, STLD, STP, STSI, STT, STX, SU, SUN, SWN, SYK, SYMC, T, TEX, TGT, THC, TIF, TOL, TSO, TWX, TXN, TXT, TYC, UAUA, UBS, UNH, UNP, UPL, URBN, USB, VALE, VLO, VWM, VZ, WAG, WB, WFC, WFMI, WFR, WFT, WHR, WY, WYNN, X, XLNX, XRX, XSP, XTO, YHOO, YUM, and ZION.