By Angela Moon and Doris Frankel
April 19 Options trading volume on Friday turned out to be in line with any given options expiration day as trading picked up despite a lockdown in much of Boston, a major U.S. financial center, as police hunted for a suspect in Monday's Boston Marathon bombings.
About 20.1 million contracts changed hands in the U.S.-listed options market on Friday, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert. That was in line with an average of 21.4 million contracts in equity, index and ETF options over the past three expiration sessions this year.
"The Boston lockdown appears to have had a minimal impact," said WhatsTrading.com options strategist Frederic Ruffy.
The options market started off slowly in the morning session, given Friday is monthly options expiration, which tends to be a heavily traded session. April options expired on Friday.
But as trading picked up, the option volume in the SPDR S&P 500 Trust, one of the most actively traded exchange-traded funds, even exceeded recent daily average - around 3.80 million contracts traded on Friday compared with the recent average of 2.58 million contracts, Trade Alert data showed.
With major mutual funds in Boston including Fidelity Investments, Pioneer Investments and Eaton Vance Corp, order flow was expected to be lighter than usual, although a number of Boston-area sources interviewed said many people could work out of their homes. Those who started work early in the morning were already in their offices.
In the Boston manhunt, police killed one suspect in a shootout Thursday night and were searching for a second man Friday. The streets in the city's financial center were deserted after authorities urged people to stay home.
Options expiration occurs monthly when the life of an options contract ends.
Ed Boyle, senior vice president of strategy at the BOX Options Exchange, said the exchange, based in Boston and accounting for about 2.1 percent of volume in single-equity and index options, was open. "The Boston activity has not affected trading at BOX in any way," he said in an email.
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