Why do options vary in expiration date?
I have been trading options for a few weeks now (with my own money that is) and I have seen that some options for certain stocks expire at different months than others.  For example, Wells Fargo (WFC) offers options for Aug, Sep, and Oct, while Bank of America (BAC) offers options for Aug, Sep, and Nov (not Oct).  Why this difference in expiration month for options of companies in the same sector?


1) Yes, different stocks may have different expirations

2) Sector has nothing to do with the expiration dates

3) There are three different expiration cycles and each stock was assigned to a specific cycle when its options were first listed for trading.

4) The cycles are:
Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct
Feb, May, Aug, Nov
Mar, jun, Sep, Dec
5) Each stock always has four different expirations available at any given time.
a) Some stocks also list LEAPS options

b) ALL stocks have options that expire in the front two months.  Right now that is Sep and Aug.  next Monday, that will be Sep, Oct

c) In addition, all stocks have two other expirations with listed options.  Those are the nearest two months from the standard expiration cycle, that are not already trading
Aug, Sep, Oct, Jan
Aug Sep, Nov, Feb
Aug Sep, Dec,Mar
Mark D. Wolfinger

The Rookie's Guide to Options:The Beginner's Handbook of Trading Equity Options