March was a record setting month for options trading but several long time exchange leaders in the space lost market share to their smaller rivals.
The Options Industry Council (OIC) reported on April 1 that total options trading in March hit 417,188,575 contracts, an all-time record, and up nearly 19% from March of 2010 (See “Equity Options Set Monthly Volume Record,” April 1).
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (NASDAQ: CBOE) and its new offshoot C2, together accounted for 26.74% of total options trading, down from a 29.75% market share in March 2010, according to OIC data. The International Securities Exchange saw its market share fall to 16.91% from 19.42% a year ago.
The major gainer in March was the NYSE Amex Options market, garnering market share of 13.73%, up from 10.40% a year ago.
Several smaller exchanges also grew. The NASDAQ Options Market recorded a market share in March of 4.79%, up from 1.74%; BATS Options had a share of 2.89% in the month, up from .04% a year ago; and the Boston Options Exchange, or BOX, saw its share rise to 2.39%, up from 1.83% in March 2010.
Total trading volume includes options on equities, indices, and exchange-traded funds.
The top exchange for equity options in March was the NASDAQ OMX PHL with a 23.76% share, followed by CBOE with 20.35%, and ISE with 18.03%.
According to the CBOE the top five most actively traded equity options at the exchange in March were Citigroup (NYSE: C), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), and Ford (NYSE: F).
The CBOE dominates the trading of index options, claiming a market share of 94.3% in March. Its product set includes the S&P 500 Index Options (CBOE: SPX) and the CBOE Volatility Index (CBOE: VIX). The VIX, nicknamed the Fear Gauge, set a volume record in March with 10.67 million contracts traded.
There are nine options exchanges in the U.S. including CBOE’s C2. The OIC is a 19-year-old cooperative funded by BATS Options, Boston Options Exchange, the CBOE, ISE, NASDAQ OMX PHLX and the NASDAQ Options Market (both part of NASDAQ OMX Group [NASDAQ: NDAQ}), NYSE Amex Options and NYSE Arca Options, (both part of NYSE Euronext, [NYSE : NYX]), and the Options Clearing Corp.