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International derivatives exchange Eurex has announced plans to expand its range of European equity options as of July 23 with the addition of options on one Dutch and three French underlying stocks.

The introduction of options on French equities Air France, Alstom and Vallourec and Randstad from the Netherlands complements coverage of the French and Dutch national benchmark indices CAC40 and AEX with Eurex equity options, since all four underlying stocks are constituents of their countries' respective blue-chip indices.

The French and Dutch equity option segments on Eurex have performed well, with a combined volume so far this year of around 11.5 million contracts, compared with 9.4 million for the same period of 2006.

During the first six months of this year, the Dutch equity options segment recorded an average daily volume of approximately 52,000 contracts, compared with 38,500 in the first half of 2006, while the French equity options segment traded an average of around 38,000 contracts up from 28,400 in the same period of the previous year. Open interest is currently at approximately 5.2 million contracts.

The contract specifications of the new options are analogous to the existing French and Dutch equity options. As of August 1, the four new options will also be included in the market-making package for French and Dutch equity options.

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