05/26/2010 11:17 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Amateur Options Trading: Investors Flock To 'One Of The All-Time Suckers' Bet'

Volume in the U.S. has tripled since 2004 to a record 3.61 billion contracts in 2009, while trading by individual investors in the same period has increased fivefold at Fidelity Investments, the world's largest mutual-fund firm. Sophisticated online software and the growth in training offered by industry groups and brokerages, such as Charles Schwab Corp. and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., are enabling individuals to execute advanced techniques on home computers that had been the province of professionals.