Options Observer: The Rise of Nasdaq-100 Options on Futures

  • 2 Jun 2021
  • By CME Group

In search of liquidity and flexibility for managing exposure to the Nasdaq-100 Index? Look no further than options on Nasdaq-100 futures, one of the fastest growing liquidity pools at CME Group.

Options big and small, long and short

Available in both E-mini (NQ) and Micro E-mini (MNQ) sizes ‒ with expirations listed on a quarterly, monthly, and weekly basis ‒ options on Nadasq-100 futures offer the precision to scale exposures up or down to more acutely control risk/reward profiles and the flexibility to express long- or short-term views.

Between the addition of Micro E-mini Nasdaq-100 options on August 31, 2020 and the April 2021 introduction of E-mini Nasdaq-100 Monday and Wednesday Weekly options, traders can now access a total of 32 different option expiries on E-mini and Micro E-mini futures at any given time (compared to 14 expiries a year ago).

Volumes surging

The expanded product set, paired with the increasingly prominent role of the Nasdaq-100 Index in global equity markets, has resulted in a significant jump in options trading activity in 2021.

E-mini Nasdaq-100 options are averaging over 25K contracts per day in 2021, up 57% compared to 2020. Having reached a record monthly ADV of 30K contracts/day in March, volumes have remained elevated in May with month-to-date ADV of 31K contracts/day. Meanwhile, average daily open interest has climbed to 141K contracts, +23% compared to 2020, including a multi-year high of 217K contracts in March. 

Source: CME Group, data as of May 25, 2021 

Newly introduced E-mini Nasdaq-100 Monday and Wednesday weekly options, launched April 12, 2021, have seen strong early adoption with over 87K contracts traded and open interest as high as 10K contracts in the first six weeks of trading.

Source: CME Group, data as of May 25, 2021 

Micro E-mini Nasdaq-100 options, having seen strong and steady growth since their debut in August 2020, have seen adoption rapidly increase in May.

Source: CME Group, data as of May 25, 2021 

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