Another record year for the options market.
According to the latest data from OCC, over 4 billion contracts cleared in 2011, a 17 percent increase over the prior year and the ninth consecutive year of gains. Exchange Traded Fundsand index options dominated the trading with three large-cap stocks among the top ten most actively traded contracts of the year.
Options on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust were the most actively traded contracts by a wide margin, garnering 16 percent of the total volume or, 729,478,419 contracts.
The category with the biggest gain was options on Index/Other Futures, up 60 percent year over year. Some of those gains are being attributed to increased interest in the CBOE Market Volatility Index better known as the VIX.
Options on the VIX were 2.15 percent of the overall market while the CBOE reports underlying futures traded a whopping 12 million contracts, jumping 174 percent from 2010 to 2011.
In 2012, OCC is expected to start clearing Over-the-Counter (OTC) options based on the S&P 500 in addition to exchange traded contracts.