Why can't I close my index option on expiration day?

Why do I get an error when closing my index options position?

Your position may already be expired

Are you receiving a "Stopped symbols...(instruments_stopped_trading)" error when trying to close a cash-settled index option position? Namely, SPX, NDX, RUT, VIX, etc.? Unlike equity options that allow you trade up to the listed expiration date, cash-settled indexes have specific last trading days along with a particular settlement method. 

For example, a monthly SPX option has an expiration date on the third Friday of every month. That said, the last trading day for monthly cash-settled index options is Thursday and not the expiration date listed. The settlement value is determined on Friday morning by the amount of the symbol SET. Settlement symbols are usually published 30-45 minutes after the market open.

Settlement Symbols for Monthly (AM-Settled) Index Options

The settlement value is determined on the morning of the listed expiration date by their settlement symbol. Settlement symbols are usually published 30 to 60 minutes after the market open. The most commonly traded symbols and their settlement symbols are listed below:

  • VIX: VRO (Wednesday)

Any open monthly SPX options position or any other monthly index option with an AM expiration on the listed expiration day cannot be closed because it is already expired. The last day to trade (or close) a monthly index option is the trading day before. You can learn more about cash-settled indices, including their last trading day and settlement symbol, by clicking here. Additionally, to learn how cash-settled index options settle at expiration, then please click here.

Error message example: Stopped Symbol

How do I know if I have an AM-Settled Index Option

Check your Position or Trade Tab>Table View

Open Position in the Positions tab

Table view during Order Entry