Today the NYSE Euronext (NYX) launched mini option contracts.

At launch mini options area offered on Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN), the SPDR Gold Fund (GLD), and the SPDR S&P 500 Fund (SPY).

mini options yahoo

Instead of a traditional option representing 100 shares for each contract, a “mini” option only represents 10 shares. The options are designed for trading larger price equities such as Apple (APPL).

From today’s WSJ,

In the case of high-priced shares, like the $800-plus stock of Google), one standard options contract would be tied to $80,779 worth of stock, based on Monday’s closing stock price. A mini option on Google would be tied to $8,079.90 worth of stock. With commissions and fees, the mini options are liable to cost slightly more than one-tenth of a traditional options contract.

For an investor with a smaller brokerage account, a contract with a smaller underlying value allows greater flexibility. Where an obligation to buy or sell stock worth more than $80,000 might be too high, preventing an investor from being able to trade a traditional Google option, the $8,000 value of a mini might be more manageable.

“These are great for somebody who has wanted to trade, but maybe has a smaller account and would like to trade options that take up a smaller percentage of their account,” said Joe Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade.

A handful of online brokers are already ready for the new mini options. For example, Scottrade issued a press release last week highlighting its efforts to have mini options available to clients on day one,

“Mini options are part of the options industry’s continued evolution, and a major step for self-directed traders,” Scottrade Vice President of Clearing and Options Services Brian Connor said. “It was important to us not only to make this new product available day-one, but to give our clients an exceptional experience.”

For more information on mini options, head on over to Yahoo Finance’s Breakout which posted a good interview Steve Crutchfield, the Head of NYSE Euronext U.S. Options Exchanges, this morning.