Quadruple witching days are the four days in the calendar year, when stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures all expire simultaneously.
- Stock index futures are contracts to buy or sell at a set price today, to be settled at a date in the future.
- Stock index options give the right to trade a specific stock index at a specified price by a specified expiration date.
- Stock options gives the right purchase stock in a company at a determined price within a certain window of time.
- Single stock futures are contract to exchange a specified number of stocks in a company at a price agreed today (the strike price) with delivery at a specified delivery date.
Quadruple witching days are the third Friday of March, June, September, and December.
Quartz news this morning (17 March 2022) says this:
The day is known for heavy trading volume and there can be a great deal of unpredictability in the market because “hedges are no longer needed or are adjusted for new positions,” said George Pearkes, an investment analyst at Bespoke Investment Group.
With Russia’s invasion in Ukraine creating new economic pains and a quarter percentage rate hike from the Fed, this Witching Day could be especially unpredictable.
The day can increase volumes so much that sometimes it makes it difficult to tell whether a stock is moving because of contracts expiring or business fundamentals. While a Witching Day doesn’t automatically mean more volatility in the market, some traders-especially new ones, choose to sit the day out.
The third Friday in March this year is tomorrow 18 March.