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What you need to know about quadruple witching

Quadruple witching refers to the simultaneous quarterly expiration of four sets of options: individual stock options, stock futures, stock indexes and stock index futures. This occurs once every quarter—on the third Friday in March, June, September and December.

Because futures and options investors must close out of their positions on those days, the market typically sees an increase in trading volume and volatility at that time.

"Witching" evolved from the fact that in the past, the expiration of futures and options contracts occurred not only on the same day but also at the same time—resulting in a frenzied period of greater-than-normal market activity and therefore dubbed the witching hour.