Long-term Equity Anticipation Securities, or LEAPS®, are long-term stock or index options that expire more than 9 months in advance, and can last as long as 2.5 years. They are introduced by CBOE in 1990 to give investors more flexibility in using options in their portfolios. LEAPS trade like normal options but they allow investors to benefit from the appreciation of equities while placing a lot less money at risk than is required to purchase stock.
Not all optionable stocks have LEAPS listed for trading. LEAPS are usually available only for large cap stocks or smaller companies in hot sectors.
LEAPS always expire in January and there are two series listed on a given stock at any time. After the May expiration, the nearest LEAPS will turn into a regular short-term option as the January cycle (June, July, October and January) begins. At this time, the next LEAPS series is listed for trading.
For example, in January 2007, there will be LEAPS listed that expire in January 2008 and January 2009. On the Monday following the May 2007 expiration date, the January 2008 LEAPS becomes a regular option and January 2010 LEAPS is added.
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