The expiration date of various stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures.
All stock options contracts expire on the third Friday of each month and once every quarter – on the third Friday of March, June, September and December – all four asset classes expire on the same day. Because futures and options investors must close out of their positions on those days, they often witness increased trading volume.
The term “witching” comes from the fact that in the past, the expiration of futures and options contracts occurred not only on the same day, but at the same time. This often resulted in a period of greater-than-normal market volatility, which became known as the “witching hour.” Due to this increased volatility and frenzied market activity, many investors approach the markets differently on witching days.
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