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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Proposes [sic] To Amend Commentary .06 to NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4 To Permit the Exchange To List Additional Strike Prices Until the Close of Trading on the Second Business Day Prior to Monthly Expiration.

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September 14, 2012.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) [1] of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”) [2] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[3] notice is hereby given that, on September 6, 2012, NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange” or “NYSE Arca”) 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 self-regulatory organization. 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 proposes to proposes to [sic] amend Commentary .06 to NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4 to permit the Exchange to list additional strike prices until the close of trading on the second business day prior to monthly expiration. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at www.nyse.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, 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 purpose of this filing is to amend Commentary .06 to NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4 to permit the Exchange to add additional strikes until the close of trading on the second business day prior to a monthly expiration.

NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4 currently permits the Exchange to open additional series of individual stock options until the first calendar day of the month in which the option expires or until the fifth business day prior to expiration if unusual market conditions exist.[4] Options market participants generally prefer to focus their trading in strike prices that immediately surround the price of the underlying security. However, if the price of the underlying stock moves significantly, there may be a market need for additional strike prices to adequately account for market participants risk management needs in a stock. In these situations, the Exchange has the ability to add additional series at strike prices that are better tailored to the risk management needs of market participants.[5] The Exchange may make the determination to open additional series for trading when the Exchange deems it necessary to maintain an orderly market, to meet customer demand, or when certain price movements take place in the underlying market.[6] If the market need occurs prior to five business days prior to expiration, then the market participants may have access to an option contract that is more tailored to the movement in the underlying stock.[7] However, if the market need to manage risk due to unusual market conditions comes to light anytime from five to two days prior to expiration, then market participants are left without a contract that is tailored to manage their risk.[8] For example:

  • On October 17, 2011, a Monday of the week that monthly options expired, Crocs Inc. (CROX) closed at $26.65.
  • After the close of trading the issuer published a warning regarding earnings, and on Tuesday morning the underlying opened at $17.40.
  • The lowest expiring series were the $18 strike calls and puts. The Exchange was unable to add additional series to tailor the risk management needs of market participants in the stock due in a situation where the stock moves more than 35%.

In this situation, investors had no nearest term strikes to effectively manage their risk in the underlying stock, CROX. Because of the current five-days-before-expiration restriction, investors were unable to tailor their hedging activities in options and effectively manage their risk going into expiration.[9]

The Exchange proposes to permit the listing of additional strikes until the close of trading on the second business day prior to expiration in unusual market conditions. Since expiration of the monthly contract is on a Saturday, the close of trading on the second business day will typically fall on a Thursday. However, in the cases where Friday is a holiday during which the Exchange is closed, the close of trading on the second business day will occur on a Wednesday. The Exchange will continue to make the determination to open additional series for trading when the Exchange deems it necessary to maintain an orderly market, to meet customer demand, or when certain price movements take place in the underlying market. The proposed change will provide an additional four days to the Exchange to gauge market impact of the underlying stock and to react to any market conditions that would render additional series prior to expiration beneficial to market participants. The Exchange believes that the impact on the market from the proposed change will be very minimal to market participants, however it will be extremely beneficial in that minority of situations where unusual market conditions dictate immediately prior to expiration. The proposal would simply allow participants to adjust their risk exposure in narrow situations when an unusual market event occurred on trading days 2, 3, 4, 5 prior to expiration.

This proposal does not raise any capacity concerns on the Exchange, because the changes have no material difference in impact from the current rules. The Exchange notes the proposed change allows for new strikes that would otherwise be permitted to add under existing rules either on the fifth day prior or immediately after expiration.[10] A strike which opens two days prior to expiration will have minimal impact on quoting, as it adds two series out of hundreds of thousands, and only for a small number of days.[11] Thus, any additional strikes that may be added under the proposed change would have no measurable effect on systems capacity.

The Exchange discussed the proposed listing and trading of series during expiration week with the OCC. The OCC represented that it is able to accommodate the proposal and would have no operational concerns with adding new series on any day except the last day of trading an expiring series.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”),[12] in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,[13] in particular, 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.

The Exchange believes that providing an additional four days to the Exchange to gauge market impact and to react to any market conditions prior to expiration beneficial [sic] will result in a continuing benefit to investors by giving them more flexibility to closely tailor their investment decisions and hedging decisions prior to expiration. The Exchange also believes that the additional four days will provide the investing public and other market participants with additional opportunities to hedge their investment thus allowing these investors to better manage their risk exposure with additional in the money series. While the four additional days may generate additional quote traffic, the Exchange does not believe that this increased traffic will become unmanageable since the proposal remains limited to the narrow situations when an unusual market event occurred on trading days 2, 3, 4, 5 prior to expiration.

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.

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 45 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 or disapprove the 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-2012-94. This file number should be included on the subject line if email 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 Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549, on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Commission's Web site at http://www.sec.gov. 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-2012-94 and should be submitted on or before October 11, 2012.

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[14]

Kevin M. O'Neill,

Deputy Secretary.

Footnotes

1.  15 U.S.C.78s(b)(1).

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4.  See Commentary .06 to NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4. `Until the fifth business day prior' generally means up through the end of the day on the Friday of the week prior to expiration week. When options were first approved for listing and trading in the United States, the generally uniform rules of the options exchanges restricted the addition of new series “until the first calendar day of the month in which the option expires.” At various times in 1985, exchanges were granted authority to list new equity options series until five business days prior to expiration under unusual market conditions. In 1985 there were two main concerns expressed by the Commission: (i) Worry over the proliferation of strikes and possible capacity concerns, and (ii) effective and timely communication to market participants about the new strikes. At the time, though, exchanges were only allowed to list three expiration months per issue, and were expanding from listing three strikes to listing five strikes. Since then, there has been a continual expansion of the number of strikes, the number of expiration months, and alternative expiration days. Following the restructuring of OPRA in 2003, each exchange became responsible for purchasing sufficient capacity to handle its own quotes generated by the series and classes it listed. Also, when options were first listed, additional strikes were communicated via teletype and firm wires to branch offices, firm back offices, and OCC. As communications were improved, through the use of fax machines and then email, the time to send notifications decreased significantly. Now, with the adoption of Streamline Options Series Adds (“SOSA”) by OCC, notification of new strikes is in real time throughout the industry.

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5.  See NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4.

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6.  See NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4(a).

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7.  See NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4(a).

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8.  While these situations are relatively rare, the Exchange represents that approximately two times a month there is a legitimate need to add additional strikes closer to expiration than the five business day limitation permits, due to it being necessary to maintain an orderly market, to meet customer demand, or when certain price movements take place in the underlying market.

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9.  The Exchange notes that if the proposed rule were in place, the Exchange would have added $15, $16, and $17 strikes expiring the following Saturday.

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10.  Any new strikes added under this proposal would be added in a manner consistent with the range limitations described in NYSE Arca Options Rule 6.4A.

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11.  In the case of a multi-stock event where multiple stocks may be subject to unusual market conditions, a strike which opens two days prior to expiration will also have minimal impact on quoting, as it adds two series per stock out of hundreds of thousands, and only for a small number of days.

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[FR Doc. 2012-23237 Filed 9-19-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P