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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change and Notice of Filing and Order Granting Accelerated Approval to Amendment No. 1 Thereto To Amend Its Rules Governing the Hours of Trading in Equity Options and Narrow-Based Index Options

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Start Preamble February 7, 2006.

I. Introduction

On December 6, 2005, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated (“CBOE” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] a proposed rule change to amend its rules governing the hours of trading in equity options and narrow-based index options. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on December 20, 2005. The Commission received no comments on the proposed rule change. On January 31, 2006, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change.[3] This order approves the proposed rule change, grants accelerated approval to Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change, and solicits comments from interested persons on Amendment No. 1.

II. Description

The CBOE proposes to amend its rules governing the hours of trading in equity options and narrow-based index options. Specifically, the CBOE proposes to amend its rules to change the close of the normal trading hours in equity options and in narrow-based index options from 3:02 p.m. (Chicago time) to 3 p.m. (Chicago time). After the change, the time of the close of trading in these CBOE options will correspond to the normal time set for the close of trading on the primary exchanges listing the stocks underlying the CBOE options. The primary exchanges generally close at 3 p.m. (Chicago time).

The Exchange represents that improvements in the processing and reporting of transactions have largely eliminated significant delays in the reporting of closing prices; and therefore, a two minute session is no longer needed to trade options after the underlying securities close trading. Additionally, the Exchange believes that pricing aberrations can occur if an option is traded when the underlying stock is no longer trading, since there is a close relationship in the price of the underlying stock and the overlying option. As a result, the CBOE believes that it is difficult for the market to price options accurately when the underlying security is not trading. Furthermore, as noted above, the Exchange also proposes to change the closing time for narrow-based indexes (under CBOE Rule 24.6) because these indexes are subject to the same pricing problems as options on individual stocks. According to the CBOE, a significant news announcement on one component of a narrow-based index could have a significant effect on that index.

However, the Exchange is not at this time proposing to change the closing time of 3:15 p.m. (Chicago time) for broad-based index options because it does not believe that a significant news announcement by the issuer of one component stock of a broad-based index is likely to have a significant effect on the price of that broad-based index.

Accordingly, under the proposed rule change, as amended, the CBOE proposes to amend its rules, including CBOE Rules 6.1, 6.2, 12.3, 24.6, and 24.16, in which references are made to a 3:02 p.m. closing time for equity options and narrow-based index options. The CBOE proposes that the proposed rule change, as amended, be implemented on February 13, 2006.[4]

III. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning Amendment No. 1, including whether Amendment No. 1 is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Nancy M. Morris, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-CBOE-2005-104. This file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site(http://www.sec.gov/​rules/​sro.shtml). 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 Section. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the CBOE. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-CBOE-2005-104 and Start Printed Page 8015should be submitted on or before March 8, 2006.

IV. Discussion and Commission Findings

After careful review, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change, as amended, is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.[5] In particular, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[6] which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be 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, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

The Commission notes that the Exchange believes that the need to continue trading options for some period of time after the close of trading in the underlying securities markets is no longer necessary because improvements in the processing and reporting of transactions have obviated the need to respond to late reports of closing prices over the consolidated tape in order to bring options quotes in line with the closing price of the underlying security. Moreover, the Exchange believes that allowing two additional minutes of options trading after trading on the underlying primary exchanges has ended may actually result in pricing aberrations. Because the two minute delay between the close of normal trading in equity options and narrow-based index options and the corresponding underlying equity markets is no longer necessary, the Commission believes that eliminating the delay is in the public interest and appropriate for the protection of investors and the maintenance of fair and orderly markets. Therefore, the Commission finds that it is consistent with the Act for the Exchange to amend its rules to change the close of normal trading hours in equity and narrow-based index options from 3:02 p.m. (Chicago time) to 3 p.m. (Chicago time).

Accelerated Approval of Amendment No. 1

The Commission finds good cause, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,[7] for approving Amendment No.1 prior to the thirtieth day after publication in the Federal Register. The Commission notes that all of the options exchanges have filed substantially similar proposals and seek to implement these industry-wide changes simultaneously on February 13, 2006.[8] Because the existence of dissimilar closing times among the options exchanges could lead to confusion for options investors and broker-dealers, the Commission finds it appropriate to accelerate approval of Amendment No. 1 to enable the six options exchanges to simultaneously amend their hours of trading on an industry-wide basis in a uniform manner.[9]

V. Conclusion

It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,[10] that the proposed rule change and Amendment No. 1 thereto (SR-CBOE-2005-104) be, and hereby are, approved.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[11]

J. Lynn Taylor,

Assistant Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  In Amendment No. 1, the Exchange requested that the implementation date for the new closing time be changed from February 1, 2006, as was originally proposed, to February 13, 2006.

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5.  In approving this proposal, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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8.  See note 9, infra.

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9.  The Commission notes that it is simultaneously approving similar proposals from the other options exchanges. See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 53244 (SR-Amex-2006-003); 53245 (SR-BSE-2006-02); 53248 (SR-ISE-2005-58); 53249 (SR-PCX-2005-138); and 53247 (SR-Phlx-2006-01) (February 7, 2006).

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[FR Doc. E6-2112 Filed 2-14-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P