HELP! QQQQ options unavailable in database

Hi Matthew,

I am trying to place a trade with QQQQ Jan2012 40 puts but the trade entry screen shows only a very limited number of expiry months. So I constructed the code myself (QQQ1220M40) but then I get an error that the code is unrecognised in the database.

Please can you fix this soon. I was hoping to place a trade on the open but I cannot, so now the earlier the better.

OK, I have found the code to be “WD1221M40” but it is a pain to construct the code as the lookup function in C2 does not have any options beyond six months in the future so I had to find the “WD” prefix symbol elsewhere.

This new option symbolism has turned out to be worse than before - at least before I could look up the symbol anywhere and then copy&paste into C2 or into my broker trade screen, whereas now different quote websites, brokers and C2 have slightly different ways of constructing the code, or no code at all! For instance, optionsXpress doesn’t display any code that can be copied elsewhere and the C2 code is different from Yahoo Finance and Marketwatch.

What logic turns the “QQQ” prefix into “WD” for 2012 LEAPS??


Funny you should ask.

The Options Symbology Initiative (OSI) – this big effort by the options industry to change their symbols to something more rational – is actually occurring in two phases. The first phase introduced the long symbols which contain a root, strike, expiration, and put/call information in very verbose way. The second phase (not yet completed) is designed to rationalize the root symbols so that the roots in options will exactly match the stock symbols in question. No more having to look up some random string in order to signify a stock symbol that is completely different.

I think the second phase of OSI is being completed over the next few months. If anyone knows more about this (or wants to correct any of my mis-information), please add to this thread.

I’m going to be using to test a computer AI for trading based on technical analysis. I need to construct strings for both call and put options for stock index futures (Nasdaq Composite, S&P500, Dow Jones Industrial, etc.) trading on the CME, with the expiration date and strike price occasionally varying. However, as has been mentioned in this thread, C2 doesn’t have the same symbol string conventions as various other sources. Where is all of this documented, and how can I verify the meaning of a symbol string before entering a trade into C2? I especially don’t want to buy a call option when I mean to buy a put option, but I generally want to make sure the strings mean what I intend.

Hi James,

In case it helps, this is how I constructed the option code:

Get the ‘prefix’ code from Yahoo Finance. Then construct the rest of the code using the algorithm shown here:

The “Expiration Day of Month” is the Saturday. So in my case it was the 21st, not 20th as I was originally trying.

What I call the “prefix” is called the “Security Symbol” in the C2 page above. As Matthew says, eventually (and hopefully!) it will really be the security symbol but that is not yet the case.