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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 6.4

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 7710 February 11, 2009.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on February 10, 2009, NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. 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, Inc. is proposing to amend Rule 6.4, Series of Options Open for Trading, to expand the $1 Strike Program. Changes to the rule text are shown in Exhibit 5 of the filing. A copy of this filing is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://www.nyse.com, at the Exchange'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 self-regulatory organization 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 those 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 parts of such statements.

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

1. Purpose

The $1 Strike Program currently allows NYSE Arca to select a total of 10 individual stocks on which options series may be listed at $1 strike price intervals. In order to be eligible for selection into the Program, the underlying stock must close below $50 in its primary market on the previous trading day. If selected for the Program, the Exchange may list strike prices at $1 intervals from $3 to $50, but no $1 Strike Price may be listed that is greater than $5 from the underlying stock's closing price on its primary market on the previous day. The Exchange may also list $1 strikes on any other option class designated by another securities exchange that employs a similar Program under their respective rules. The Exchange may not list long-term option series (“LEAPS”) at $1 strike price intervals for any class selected for the Program. The Exchange is also restricted from listing any series that would result in strike prices being $.50 apart.

The Exchange now proposes to expand the Program to allow NYSE Arca to select a total of 55 individual stocks on which option series may be listed in $1 strike price intervals, and to expand slightly the price range on which the Exchange may list $1 strikes, i.e., from $1 to $50. The existing restrictions on listing $1 strikes would continue, 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, and NYSE Arca is restricted from listing any series that would result in strike prices being $.50 apart.

NYSE Arca believes that $1 strike price intervals provide investors with greater flexibility in the trading of equity options that overlie lower price stocks by allowing investors to establish equity options positions that are better tailored to meet their investment objectives. The Exchange notes that current market conditions, in which the number of securities trading below $50 has increased dramatically, further warrant the expansion of the Program.

The Exchange is also proposing to set forth a delisting policy. Specifically, the Exchange would, on a monthly basis, review series that were originally listed under the $1 Strike Program with strike prices that are more than $5 from the current values of the options classes in the Program. The Exchange would delist series with no open interest in both the put and the call series having a: (i) Strike higher than the highest strike price with open interest in the put and/or call series for a given expiration month; and (ii) strike lower than the lowest strike price with open interest in the put and/or call series for a given expiration month.

Notwithstanding the proposed delisting policy, NYSE Arca could grant OTP Holder requests to add strikes and/or maintain strikes in certain options classes in series eligible for delisting.

Further, in connection with the proposed delisting policy, if the Exchange identifies series for delisting, the Exchange shall notify other options exchanges with similar delisting policies regarding eligible series for listing, and shall work with such other exchanges to develop a uniform list of series to be delisted, so as to ensure uniform series delisting of multiply listed options classes. NYSE Arca expects that the proposed delisting policy will be adopted by other options exchanges that amend their rules to employ a similar expansion of the Program.

With regard to the impact on system capacity, NYSE Arca has analyzed its capacity and represents that it and the Options Price Reporting Authority have the necessary systems capacity to handle the additional traffic associated with the listing and trading of an expanded number of options series as proposed by this filing.

The Exchange believes that the $1 Strike Program has provided investors with greater trading opportunities and flexibility and the ability to more closely tailor their investment strategies and decisions to the movement of the underlying security. Furthermore, the Exchange has not detected any material proliferation of illiquid options series resulting from the narrower strike price intervals. For these reasons, NYSE Arca requests an expansion of the current Program.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes the proposed rule change is consistent with and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, remove impediments to and perfect the mechanisms of a free and open market and a national market system and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest, in that it provides for a greater number of available strike prices in lower priced underlying issues, and thus allows investors to better tailor their investments to meet their needs.

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 not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.Start Printed Page 7711

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 self-regulatory organization 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

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 Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NYSEArca-2009-10. 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, on business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., located at 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549. Copies of such 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-NYSEArca-2009-10 and should be submitted on or before March 12, 2009.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[3]

Florence E. Harmon,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

[FR Doc. E9-3466 Filed 2-18-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P