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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Extend Until June 5, 2007, a Pilot Program for Listing Options on Selected Stocks Trading Below $20 at One-Point Intervals

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Start Preamble May 15, 2006.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on May 8, 2006, NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared Start Printed Page 29374by the Exchange. The Exchange filed the proposal pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act,[3] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,[4] which renders the proposal effective upon filing with the Commission. 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

NYSE Arca proposes to amend Commentary .04 to NYSE Arca Rule 6.4, “Series of Options Open for Trading,” to extend until June 5, 2007, its pilot program for listing options series on selected stocks trading below $20 at one-point intervals (“Pilot Program”). The text of the proposed rule change is available on NYSE Arca's Web site (http://www.nysearca.com), at NYSE Arca's principal office, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

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 Exchange 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 Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

The purpose of this proposal is to extend for one year the Exchange's Pilot Program. The current Pilot Program expires on June 5, 2006. NYSE Arca notes that OTP Firms have expressed a continued interest in listing additional strike prices on low-priced stocks so that they can provide their customers with greater flexibility in their investment choices. For this reason, the Exchange proposes to extend the Pilot Program. The Exchange notes that all of the issues eligible to be included in the Pilot Program, the procedures for adding $1 strike prices, the procedures for phasing out $2.50 strike prices, the prohibition against listing long-term options (also known as “LEAPS”) in equity option classes at $1 strike intervals, the procedures for adding expiration months, and the procedures for deleting $1 strike prices will remain the same. In support of the Exchange's proposal to extend the Pilot Program until June 5, 2007, the Exchange is submitting to the Commission a report (the “Pilot Program Report”), attached as Exhibit 3 to the proposal, that offers detailed data from, and analysis of, the Pilot Program.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the continuation of $1 strike prices will stimulate customer interest in options overlying lower-priced stocks by creating greater trading opportunities and flexibility. The Exchange further believes that continuation of $1 strike prices will provide customers with the ability to more closely tailor investment strategies to the precise movement of the underlying security. For these reasons, the Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder and, in particular, the requirements of Section 6(b) of the Act.[5] Specifically, the Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements under Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [6] that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts, 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.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in the furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

Written comments on the proposed rule change were neither solicited nor received.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

NYSE Arca has filed the proposed rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [7] and subparagraph (f)(6) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder.[8] Because the foregoing proposed rule change: (1) Does not significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (2) does not impose any significant burden on competition; and (3) by its terms does not become operative for 30 days after the date of this filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate if consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest, the proposed rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.

A proposed rule change filed under Rule 19b-4(f)(6) normally does not become operative for 30 days after the date of filing. However, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) permits the Commission to designate a shorter time if such action is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest. In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6)(iii) requires a self-regulatory organization to provide the Commission with written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change, along with a brief description and text of the proposed rule change, at least five business days prior to the date of filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as designated by the Commission. NYSE Arca has asked the Commission to waive the five-day pre-filling notice requirement [9] and the 30-day operative delay to allow the Exchange to continue to list the same options series listed on other options exchanges and to provide the public with the benefits of price competition and added liquidity in these series.

The Commission waives the five-day pre-filing notice requirement. In addition, the Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because it will allow the Pilot Program to continue without interruption through June 5, 2007.[10] For this reason, the Commission designates that the proposal become operative on June 5, 2006.[11]

Start Printed Page 29375

At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission may summarily abrogate such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change 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 No. SR-NYSEArca-2006-14. 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 Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of NYSE Arca. 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 No. SR-NYSEArca-2006-14 and should be submitted on or before June 12, 2006.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[12]

Jill M. Peterson,

Assistant Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

9.  Telephone conversation between Glenn H. Gsell, Director, NYSE Arca Regulation, and Theodore S. Venuti, Attorney, Division of Market Regulation, Commission, on May 10, 2006.

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10.  For purposes only of waiving the 30-day operative delay, 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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11.  As set forth in the Commission's initial approval of the Pilot Program and in its order extending the operation of the Pilot Program through June 5, 2005, if NYSE Arca proposes to: (1) Extend the Pilot Program; (2) expand the number of options eligible for inclusion in the Pilot Program; or (3) seek permanent approval of the Pilot Program, it must submit a Pilot Program report to the Commission along with the filing of its proposal to extend, expand, or seek permanent approval of the Pilot Program. NYSE Arca must file any such proposal and the Pilot Program report with the Commission at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the Pilot Program. The Pilot Program report must cover the entire time the Pilot Program was in effect and must include: (1) Data and written analysis on the open interest and trading volume for options (at all strike price intervals) selected for the Pilot Program; (2) delisted options series (for all strike price intervals) for all options selected for the Pilot Program; (3) an assessment of the appropriateness of $1 strike price intervals for the options NYSE Arca selected for the Pilot Program; (4) an assessment of the impact of the Pilot Program on the capacity of NYSE Arca's, the Options Price Reporting Authority's, and vendors' automated systems; (5) any capacity problems or other problems that arose during the operation of the Pilot Program and how NYSE Arca addressed them; (6) any complaints that NYSE Arca received during the operation of the Pilot Program and how NYSE Arca addressed them; and (7) any additional information that would help to assess the operation of the Pilot Program. See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 48945 (June 17, 2003), 68 FR 37594 (June 24, 2003) (File No. SR-PCX-2003-28) (order approving the Pilot Program through June 5, 2004); and 50152 (August 5, 2004), 69 FR 49931 (August 12, 2004) (File No. SR-PCX-2004-61) (order approving the extension of the Pilot Program through June 5, 2005).

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[FR Doc. E6-7720 Filed 5-18-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P