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Option Cycle


Option Cycle refers to the pattern of months in which options contracts expire. It is typically a sequence of three different months, usually identified as one near-term month and two further-out months. This term is commonly used in finance, particularly in futures and options trading.


The phonetics of the keyword “Option Cycle” is: ɒpʃən saɪkəl

Key Takeaways

Option Cycle refers to the cycle of months in which options contracts expire. Here are three main takeaways from this concept:

  1. Regularity: Option Cycle follows a regular pattern, with contracts typically expiring on the third Friday of certain months. This cycle provides traders with flexibility on expiration dates.

  2. Variety: There are several established option cycles, varying between stocks. The cycle determines which months an option contract will expire in. The most common cycles include January, April, July, and October, or February, May, August, and November, or March, June, September, and December.

  3. Strategic Tool: Understanding Option Cycle is an important strategic tool for traders. Owing to the time decay of options, the closer an option gets to its expiration date, the faster it loses value. Thus, savvy investors can leverage these cycles to optimize their trading strategies.


Option Cycle refers to the expiration dates that apply to the different series of options. It’s important because it shows the time sequence in which options are listed for trading, thereby providing traders with a variety of expiration dates for managing their investments and hedging risks. Understanding how option cycles work can help investors to make more informed decisions about when to buy or sell options, potentially leading to enhanced profitability and lower risk. Additionally, it’s crucial for strategic planning in options trading, as certain strategies may require the use of options from different cycles. Ultimately, option cycles enable investors the flexibility and control over their investment strategies.


Option Cycle refers to the pattern of months in which options contracts for a particular security are set to expire. It serves the fundamental purpose of providing a systematic approach to the expiration of options contracts. This pattern ensures a fair and orderly market by staggering these expiration dates, preventing a large number of contracts from expiring at the same time and potentially causing increased market volatility.An option cycle helps both traders and investors in the process of buying and selling options contracts. For traders, it allows them to plan their strategies based on the defined expiration dates and can assist in managing risk, as the expiry of options can have a significant impact on an investor’s portfolio. From an investor’s perspective, the knowledge of the option cycle can guide in selecting the most suitable contract, whether they are interested in short-term trading or long-term hedging. Thus, the option cycle plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and efficiency in the options market.


Option cycle refers to the expiration dates in options trading that apply to the different series of options for a particular security. A cycle can be monthly or quarterly. Here are three real-world examples:1. Stock Options: A trader purchases an option on a company’s stock (like Apple Inc.). Stock options typically have monthly cycles, with contracts available for the next four months and then every June and December. In this scenario, an option cycle would define the expiration months for the Apple Inc. options.2. Currency Options: Similarly, an investor wishes to speculate on or hedge against future exchange rate movements. He purchases a currency option – in this case, it might be for USD/JPY. Again, the option cycle would determine the precise calendar months when this option would expire.3. Index Options: Finally, a financial institution agrees to an options contract tied to a financial index (like the S&P 500). The cycle for these options might expire on the third Friday of each expiration month. In this example, the option cycle signifies the recurring dates when these index options become void.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Option Cycle?

An option cycle refers to the cycle of months in which options contracts expire. The typical cycles are January, February, and March; January, April, and July; and February, May, and August.

How does an Option Cycle work?

The Option Cycle determines the expiration months for each specific security. Stocks are assigned into one of three cycles; January, February, or March. This expiry cycle is established when a company’s stock is first listed with options.

Why is an Option Cycle important in financial trading?

Understanding Option Cycle is crucial for options traders as it allows them to strategize and plan their trades based on when options contracts expire.

Can an Option Cycle change for a given security?

No, once the Option Cycle is determined for a security, it remains the same and does not change.

Does the Option Cycle apply to all types of options?

Yes, the Option Cycle is applicable to both call options and put options.

How can I tell which Option Cycle a particular stock follows?

You can determine a stock’s Option Cycle by looking at the expiration months available for trading. The information can be found on the website of the options exchange where the contract is listed.

Is Option Cycle relevant to both American and European options?

Yes, the Option Cycle is a standard concept in options trading and applies to both American-style options and European-style options.

Can I trade options at any point within the Option Cycle?

Yes, an options trader can initiate a trade at any point within the Option Cycle, provided that the chosen options contract is available for trading.

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