HKEx to introduce stock options for ABC

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The Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx) said Monday it would introduce Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) stock options on July 16, which was subject to the successful listing of the stock on the same day.

According to a statement posted on HKEx's official website, ABC's stock code is 1288 and the contract size of ABC's stock options would be 10,000, equivalent to 10 board lots of ABC stock.

Expiry months of ABC's stock options available for trading on July 16 would be July, August, September, December 2010 and March and June 2011, it said.

"The introduction of Agricultural Bank of China stock options demonstrates our commitment to expand our product range and further strengthen our position as a leading international marketplace for securities and derivatives," said Calvin Tai, head of HKEx's Trading Division.

"Our ability to offer related equity derivatives that complement (Chinese) mainland stocks traded in our securities market is one of our strengths," he added.

In the meantime, ABC will also be admitted to the list of designated securities eligible for short selling on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HKEx, with effect from July 16, said the statement.

Stock options refer to contracts that grant the holder the right to buy or sell a specific stock at a specific price before the contract expires.

Stock options are one of the most creative and flexible financial derivative instrument. It has found its place not only in the stock markets but also as employee benefits in order to participate in a company's growth.

The Agricultural Bank of China is the last of the country's largest four banks to go public. ABC plans a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong to replenish its capital base after a lending spree last year. ABC's shares are expected to begin trading in Shanghai on July 15, and in Hong Kong on July 16.

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