THE NEW TRADING OF A LIVING VOLUME AND TIME Open interest Open interest is the number of contracts held by buyers or owed by short sellers in any derivative market, such as futures or options. Stock market shares are traded for as long as the company that listed them stays in business as an independent unit. Most shares are held as long positions, with only a small percentage of shorts. In futures and options, on the other hand, the total size of long and short positions is always identical, due to the fact that they are contracts for future delivery. When someone wants to buy a contract, someone else has to sell it to them, i.e., go short. If you want to buy a call option for 100 shares of Google, another trader has to sell you that option; in order for you to be long, someone else has to be short. Open interest equals the total long or the total short positions. Futures and options contracts are designed to last for only a set period of time.
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