Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”)  and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that on November 28, 2000, the American Stock Exchange LLC (“Amex” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Amex. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
The Amex proposes to increase to one hundred the maximum permissible number of equity and index option contracts in an order executable through its automatic execution system, AUTO-EX. The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Office of the Secretary, Amex and at the Commission.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, the Amex included statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Amex has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.Start Printed Page 77943
A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In 1985, the Exchange implemented the AUTO-EX system, which automatically executes public customer market and marketable limit orders in options at the best bid or offer displayed at the time the order is entitled into the Amex Order File (“AOF”). There are, however, limitations on the number of option contracts that can be entered into or executed by these systems. AOF, which handles limit orders routed to the specialist's book as well as orders routed to AUTO-EX, was recently increased to allow for the entry of orders of up to 250 option contracts. Generally, however, AUTO-EX is only permitted to execute equity option orders and index option orders of up to seventy-five contracts. Thus, market and marketable limit orders of more than seventy-five contracts are generally routed by AOF to the specialist's book.
The Exchange now proposes to increase to one hundred the maximum permissible number of equity and index option contracts in an order that can be executed through the AUTO-EX system. It is proposed that this increase to one hundred in permissible order size for AUTO-EX be implemented on a case-by-case basis for an individual option class or for all option classes when two floor governors or senior floor officials deem such an increase appropriate. Currently, the Amex posts applicable quote size parameters on its web page. Generally, these parameters provide that displayed quotes are for twenty contracts for equity options and for thirty contracts for index options and are set on a class-by-class basis. However, pursuant to Exchange Rule 958A, the order size for AUTO-EX will remain at ten contracts for equity and index options, or such larger size currently in effect and as indicated on the Exchange's web page. The Exchange represents that it has sufficient systems capacity necessary to accommodate implementation of the proposed increase.
The Exchange represents that AUTO-EX has been extremely successful in enhancing execution and operational efficiencies during emergency situations and during other, non-emergency situations for certain option classes. The Exchange believes that automatic executions of orders for up to one hundred contracts will allow for the quick, efficient execution of public customer orders.
2. Statutory Basis
The proposed rule change is consistent with section 6(b)  of the Act in general and furthers the objectives of section 6(b)(5)  in particular in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities, and to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
The Amex does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition.
C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others
No written comments were solicited or received with respect to the proposed rule change.
III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action
Within 35 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission will:
(A) By order approve such proposed rule change, or
(B) Institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.
IV. Solicitation of Comments
The Commission invites interested persons to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Persons making written submissions should file six copies thereof with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609. Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for inspection and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Amex. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-Amex-00-57 and should be submitted by January 3, 2001.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Margaret H. McFarland,
3. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 42128 (November 10, 1999), 64 FR 63836 (November 22, 1999).Back to Citation
4. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 43516 (November 3, 2000), 65 FR 69079 (November 15, 2000). While the maximum permissible number of contracts in an index option order executable through AUTO-EX is generally seventy-five contracts, there are a few exceptions: The Institutional, Japan and S&P MidCap 400 Indexes allow ninety-nine contract orders. The Exchange proposes to increase the applicable parameter from ninety-nine to one hundred for the Institutional, Japan and S&P MidCap 400 indices to eliminate any potential for confusion over the permissible parameters applicable to AUTO-EX eligible orders for both equity and index options.Back to Citation
5. Amex Rule 958A, referred to as the “Firm Quote Rule,” requires Exchange specialists to sell (buy) at least ten (10) contracts at the offer (bid) which is displayed when a buy (sell) order reaches the trading post where the option class is located for trading.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 00-31682 Filed 12-12-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-M