Subject: Derivatives - Stock Option Symbols
Last-Revised: 21 Oct 1997
Contributed-By: Chris Lott (contact me)
The following symbols are used for the expiration month and price of listed stock options.
The table above does not illustrate the important fact that price code "A", just to pick one example, could mean any of the following strike prices: $5, $105, $205, etc. This is not so much of a problem with stocks, because they usually split to stay in the $0-$100 range most of the time.
However, this is particularly confusing in the case of a security like the S&P 100 index, OEX, for which you might find listings of more than 100 different options spread over several hundred dollars of strike price range. The OEX is priced in the hundreds of dollars and sometimes swings wildly. To resolve the multiple-of-$100 ambiguity in the strike price codes, the CBOE uses new "root symbols" such as OEW to cover a specific $100 range on the S&P 100 index. This is very confusing until you see what's going on.
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