Options Education

OIC103C: Symbols and Quotes

Course Objective:

To identify the information you’ll need to place your option orders, and where you might find it.

Who Should Take This Course:

Fundamental and Intermediate Students

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Course Description:

The class will cover some of the specific types of information you’ll need to place your option orders, beginning with option symbols. An explanation of equity option expiration cycles will help you understand why option classes might have different expiration months currently available. You’ll also learn how each specific option series may be identified through its unique symbology key, as well as where and in what form you might find option price quote information.

Course Chapters

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Here you’ll be introduced to the five pieces of information you’ll need to place any equity option order: option symbol (underlying stock); expiration month; strike price; option type (call or put); and quoted price.

Chapter 2 - Directory of Exchange Listed Options

The OCC publication Directory of Exchange Listed Options, available in both a paper and electronic format, is a periodically updated compilation of underlying stocks. It provides both the option symbol and position limit for each class of equity options, and specifies the exchanges on which the options are listed for trading.

Chapter 3 - Equity Option Expiration Cycles

Equity options expire in established patterns called sequential cycles, and these cycles vary among equity option classes. Understanding these patterns can help you foresee the expiration months you might find available in the marketplace for any particular option class at any given time in the future.

Chapter 4 - Symbology Keys

These are sequences of discrete bits of data that identify each specific equity option series available for trading. This information is used by brokerage firms to identify the option contracts to be bought or sold when an option order arrives at an exchange for execution, as well as to keep track of their customers’ open option positions.

Chapter 5 - Option Chains

Thanks to the internet, investors may use option chains as a convenient way to view at a glance both the option series that are available for trading on a particular underlying stock, as well as their quoted market prices. This chapter introduces you to a typical option chain format.

Chapter 6 - LEAPS

This chapter includes supplemental information about equity LEAPS contracts such as when new LEAPS may be listed for trading for a particular option class, as well as how LEAPS expiration months fit into established equity option expiration cycles. Their symbology keys are also considered.

Course Resources:


OIC102P: Introduction to Financial Markets and Option Basics

OIC103P: An Exploration of Basic Options Terminology


OIC101W: The Options Basics Webcast