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 January 3, 2008, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. (“Phlx” 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 substantially prepared by the Exchange. Phlx filed the proposal pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act  and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder, which renders the proposal effective upon filing with the Commission. The Start Printed Page 2298Commission 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 proposes to amend Commentary .05 to Phlx Rule 1012 (Series of Options Open for Trading) to expand the $1 Strike Pilot Program (“$1 Pilot”) and to request permanent approval of the $1 Pilot. The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Exchange, the Commission's Public Reference Room, and http://www.phlx.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, Phlx 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
The purpose of the proposed rule change is to expand the number of options classes eligible for the $1 Pilot and the range in which $1 strikes may be listed, and to request permanent approval of the $1 Pilot, thereby providing investors with greater flexibility in the trading of equity options that overlie lower priced stocks and allowing equity options positions that are better tailored to meet investment objectives.
The $1 Pilot, under the terms set forth in Commentary .05 to Phlx Rule 1012, currently allows the Exchange to establish $1 strike price intervals on options classes overlying no more than five individual stocks designated by the Exchange where: (1) The underlying stock closes below $20 on the primary market on the trading day before selection by the Exchange; (2) the $1 strike price is from $3 to $20; (3) the $1 strike price is no more than $5 above or below the closing price of the underlying stock on the preceding day; and (4) the $1 strike price is not within $0.50 of an existing $2.50 strike price in the same series. The Exchange may not list long-term option series (“LEAPS”) at $1 strike price intervals for any class selected for the $1 Pilot. In addition, pursuant to the $1 Pilot, the Exchange may list $1 strike prices on any other option classes if those classes are specifically designated by other securities exchanges that employ a similar $1 strike price program under their respective rules.
The Exchange proposes to expand the $1 Pilot to allow it to select a total of 10, instead of the current 5, individual stocks on which option series may be listed at $1 strike price intervals. Additionally, the Exchange proposes to expand the price range on which it may list $1 strikes to $3-$50, instead of the current $3-$20. The proposed expanded and permanent $1 Pilot would be known as the “$1 Strike Program.” The Exchange notes that the existing restrictions on listing $1 strikes would continue to apply; i.e., no $1 strike price may be listed that is greater than $5 from the underlying stock's closing price in its primary market on the previous day or that would result in strike prices being $0.50 apart.
As stated in the Commission order approving Phlx's $1 Pilot and in the subsequent extensions of the $1 Pilot, the Exchange believes that $1 strike price intervals provide greater trading flexibility to investors so that they may better achieve their investment objectives. The Exchange states that its member firms representing customers have requested that Phlx seek to expand the $1 Pilot both in terms of the number of classes that can be selected by the Exchange and the range in which $1 strikes may be listed.
Phlx's last $1 Pilot report (the “Report”) reviewed the Exchange's positive experience with the $1 Pilot. The Exchange states that the Report showed the strength and efficacy of the $1 Pilot on the Exchange, as reflected by the increase in the percentage of $1 strikes in comparison to total options volume traded on Phlx at $1 strike price intervals and other options volume and the continuing robust open interest of options traded on Phlx at $1 strike price intervals. With regard to the impact on systems capacities, Phlx's analysis of the $1 Pilot showed that the impact on Phlx's, OPRA's, and market data vendors' respective automated systems has been negligible. The Exchange states that, as indicated in the Report, the $1 Pilot has not created, and in the future should not create, capacity problems for the systems of OPRA. Phlx represents that it has sufficient capacity to handle an expansion of the $1 Pilot, as proposed.
Finally, because the $1 Pilot has been very successful in allowing investors to establish equity options positions that are better tailored to meeting their investment objectives, Phlx requests that the $1 Pilot, as expanded, be approved on a permanent basis.
2. Statutory Basis
The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with section 6(b) of the Act, in general, and furthers the objectives of section 6(b)(5), specifically, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and the national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. The proposal should achieve this by allowing continued listing of options at $1 strike price intervals within certain parameters, thereby stimulating customer interest in options overlying the lowest tier of stocks and creating greater trading opportunities and flexibility and providing customers with the ability to more closely tailor investment strategies to the precise movement of the underlying stocks.
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 furtherance of the purposes of the Act.Start Printed Page 2299
C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others
The Exchange states that no written comments on the proposed rule change were either solicited or received.
III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action
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. The Exchange requests that the Commission waive the 30-day operative delay so that the Exchange can immediately implement listing rules that are similar to those of other options exchanges. The Commission believes that waiving the 30-day operative delay is consistent with the protection of investors and the public interest because the proposed rule change will provide the Exchange's members and customers with added flexibility in the trading of equity options and promote, without undue delay, additional competition in the market for such options. The Commission expects the Exchange to continue to monitor for options with little or no open interest and trading activity and to act promptly to delist such options. In addition, the Commission expects that Phlx will continue to monitor the trading volume associated with the additional options series listed as a result of this proposal and the effect of these additional series on market fragmentation and on the capacity of the Exchange's, OPRA's, and vendors' automated systems. For these reasons, the Commission designates the proposed rule change as operative upon filing.
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:
- Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or
- Send an e-mail to email@example.com. Please include File Number SR-Phlx-2008-01 on the subject line.
- 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-Phlx-2008-01. 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, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. 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-Phlx-2008-01 and should be submitted on or before February 4, 2008.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.15
Florence E. Harmon,
5. The Exchange previously filed a proposed rule change that was identical in all material respects to the instant proposal pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Act and Rule 19b-4 thereunder. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 57086 (January 2, 2008) (SR-Phlx-2007-90). Phlx subsequently withdrew such proposed rule change on January 3, 2008 and filed the instant proposal for purposes of expediting effectiveness of the proposal. See infra note 13 and accompanying text.Back to Citation
6. The Commission approved the $1 Pilot on June 11, 2003. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 48013 (June 11, 2003), 68 FR 35933 (June 17, 2003) (SR-Phlx-2002-55). The $1 Pilot has subsequently been extended through June 5, 2008. See Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 49801 (June 3, 2004), 69 FR 32652 (June 10, 2004) (SR-Phlx-2004-38) (extending the $1 Pilot until June 5, 2005); 51768 (May 31, 2005), 70 FR 33250 (June 7, 2005) (SR-Phlx-2005-35) (extending the $1 Pilot until June 5, 2006); 53938 (June 5, 2006), 71 FR 34178 (June 13, 2006) (SR-Phlx-2006-36) (extending the $1 Pilot until June 5, 2007); and 55666 (April 25, 2007), 72 FR 23879 (May 1, 2007) (SR-Phlx-2007-29) (extending the $1 Pilot until June 5, 2008). The other options exchanges have similar $1 strike price listing programs that were likewise extended through June 5, 2008.Back to Citation
7. See id.Back to Citation
8. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 55666 (April 25, 2007), 72 FR 23879 (May 1, 2007) (SR-Phlx-2007-29) (enclosing the Report as Exhibit 3 to the filing).Back to Citation
12. 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). 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. The Exchange has fulfilled this requirement.Back to Citation
13. See, e.g., Securities Exchange Act Release No. 57049 (December 27, 2007), 73 FR 528 (January 3, 2008) (SR-CBOE-2007-125).Back to Citation
14. For purposes only of waiving the 30-day operative delay, the Commission has also considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E8-350 Filed 1-11-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8011-01-P