Definition of Expiration Cycle
The recurring cycle of expiry months for which options on a particular security can be available. Basic options are placed in one of three cycles; Cycle 1 (the January/April/July/October, or the first month of each quarter); Cycle 2 (the second month of each quarter); or Cycle 3 (the third month of each quarter).At any one time, a basic option has contracts with three expiration dates outstanding. For example, in mid-February, options trading on cycle 3 will have March, June and September expiries available. Late in March, after the March options expire, a December contract will be added, thus offering June, September and December expiries.Higher-volume equity options, index options, and LEAPS can trade on other cycles, such as Cycle 4, Cycle 5 or Cycle 6. Cycle 4, for example, offers options in the two nearest months plus two months from Cycle 3. For example, in mid-April, there would be April, May, June and September expires available. A month later, there would be May, June, September and December expiries available for trading.