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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; American Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Extend a Pilot Program That Increases Position and Exercise Limits for Equity Options and Options on the Nasdaq-100 Tracking Stock

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Start Preamble February 1, 2007.

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 January 30, 2007, 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 substantially prepared by Amex. The Exchange has filed the proposal as a “non-controversial” rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [3] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,[4] which renders it 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

The Exchange seeks a six-month extension of its pilot program increasing the standard position and exercise limits for options on the QQQQ and equity option classes traded on the Exchange (“Pilot Program”). The text of the proposed rule change is available at Amex, the Commission's Public Reference Room, and http://www.amex.com.

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

In its filing with the Commission, 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 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 Exchange is requesting to extend its current Pilot Program increasing the standard position and exercise limits for options on the QQQQ and equity option classes traded on the Exchange for a time period of six months from March 1, 2007, through and including September 1, 2007.

In March 2005, the Exchange established the Pilot Program for a six-month period.[5] Under the Pilot Start Printed Page 6301Program, position and exercise limits for options on the QQQQ and equity options classes traded on the Exchange were increased to the following levels:

Current equity option contract limit 6 Pilot program equity option contract limit
13,50025,000
22,50050,000
31,50075,000
60,000200,000
75,000250,000
Current QQQQ Option Contract LimitPilot Program QQQQ Option Contract Limit
300,000900,000

The standard position limits were last increased on December 31, 1998.[7] Since that time there has been a steady increase in the number of accounts that: (a) Approach the position limit; (b) exceed the position limit; and (c) are granted an exemption to the standard limit. Several member firms have petitioned the options exchanges to either eliminate position limits, or in lieu of total elimination, increase the current levels and expand the available hedge exemptions. In addition, a significant number of accounts that maintain sizable positions are utilizing the Pilot Program's increased equity option contract limits. Furthermore, overall volume in the options market has continually increased over the past five years. The Exchange believes that the increase in options volume and lack of evidence of market manipulation occurrences over the past twenty years justifies the proposed increases in the position and exercise limits.

The Exchange has not encountered any problems or difficulties relating to the Pilot Program since its inception. The instant proposed rule change makes no substantive change to the Pilot Program other than to extend it for six months through and including September 1, 2007.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act [8] in general and furthers the objective of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [9] 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 Exchange believes that the proposed rule change would impose no burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in 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

No written comments were solicited or received by the Exchange on this proposal.

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

Because the foregoing rule change does not: (1) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (2) impose any significant burden on competition; and (3) become operative for 30 days from the date of this filing, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, it has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act [10] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder.[11]

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 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, Station Place, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File No. SR-Amex-2007-15. 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 Amex. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You Start Printed Page 6302should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-Amex-2007-15 and should be submitted on or before March 2, 2007.

Start Signature

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

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51316 (March 3, 2005), 70 FR 12251 (March 11, 2005) (SR-Amex-2005-029). The Pilot Program was extended three times and is due to expire on March 1, 2007. See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 54386 (August 30, 2006), 71 FR 52831 (September 7, 2006) (SR-Amex-2006-75); 53349 (February 22, 2006), 71 FR 10571 (March 1, 2006) (SR-Amex-2006-07); and 52260 (August 15, 2005), 70 FR 48991 (August 22, 2005) (SR-Amex-2005-082).

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6.  Except when the Pilot Program is in effect.

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7.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 40875 (December 31, 1998), 64 FR 1842 (January 12, 1999) (SR-Amex-98-22).

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11.  17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). Rule 19b-4(f)(6) also requires the self-regulatory organization to give the Commission 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. Amex has satisfied the five-day pre-filing requirements.

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[FR Doc. E7-2151 Filed 2-7-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P