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Quadruple Witching

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated March 16, 2021

What Is Quadruple Witching?

Quadruple witching refers to the third Friday of every March, June, September and December. On these days, derivatives (e.g. market index futures, options futures, stock options, stock futures) expire, usually resulting in increased volatility.

How Does Quadruple Witching Work?

Although futures and options generally expire on the third Friday of every month, quadruple witching only occurs four times per year. 

The last hour of these trading days (between 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST)  is referred to as the quadruple witching hour.

On quadruple witching days – and especially during quadruple witching hours – it’s common for investors to try and unwind their futures and options positions before the contracts expire. This often includes repurchasing contracts and closing out position market capitalizations.

2020 & 2021 Quadruple Witching Dates 

Quad witching dates for 2020 were: 
March 20, 2020
June 19, 2020
September 18, 2020
December 18, 2020 

Quad witching dates for 2021 are: 
March 19, 2021
June 18, 2021
September 17, 2021
December 17, 2021

Why Is Quadruple Witching Important?

Quadruple witching days are usually accompanied by considerable stock and derivative price volatility, as well as increased trading volume. As a result, investors can anticipate and plan for the potential effects of these relatively turbulent trading days.

Ask an Expert about Quadruple Witching
At InvestingAnswers, all of our content is verified for accuracy by Paul Tracy and our team of certified financial experts. We pride ourselves on quality, research, and transparency, and we value your feedback. Below you'll find answers to some of the most common reader questions about Quadruple Witching.

Where Does the Phrase “Quad Witching” Come from?

A “witching hour” is historically known as a time for bad luck. Because all of these derivatives expire on the same date, quadruple witching days are named for their volatility (i.e. “bad luck”). 

Paul has been a respected figure in the financial markets for more than two decades. Prior to starting InvestingAnswers, Paul founded and managed one of the most influential investment research firms in America, with more than 2 million monthly readers.

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