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What Is a Quadruple Witching Day?

Written by The Inspired Investor Team | Published on March 15, 2021

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Quadruple witching (a rather eerie moniker that landed this investing term a spot in our 8 Investing Terms Perfect for Halloween) refers to the simultaneous expiry of four types of financial contracts: single stock futures, stock index futures, stock index options and single stock options.

Quadruple witching days happen four times a year, on the third Friday of the last month of each quarter, so March, June, September and December. More specifically, quadruple witching happens in the final trading hours of stock-market sessions on these four days, when the expirations occur.

Witching days tend to mean higher trading volumes, partially because of the offsetting of existing options and futures contracts. But while the event may cause a spike in trading activity as positions are adjusted, it does not necessarily result in any market volatility.

Fun fact: witching days come in triple and double, too. Before 2002, when stock futures were first introduced, the third Friday of March, June, September and December was known as a triple witching day, a term that is still used by some. But while quadruple and triple witching days are synonymous, double witching days are separate, falling on the third Friday of each of the other eight months of the year, when only two types of financial contracts expire simultaneously.

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