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Four Ways Bears Can Take a Bite Out of Options


F5, Synopsys, Moody's, Hartford are just a few names worth watching.

Shares of Moody's (MCO) are down $2.18 to $25.97 in the wake of bearish comments from Greenlight Capital (GLRE) manager David Einhorn. He said he's shorting the credit-ratings company, calling the brand "tarnished." Option volume is running 7x the daily average with 16,000 puts compared to 2,400 calls. The focus is the June $26 put, which has traded over 4,000 contracts against prior open interest of just 420 contracts. There's also buying in July $25 and $24 puts, whose volume has exceeded prior open interest. Implied volatility has jumped to 65% from 49% a day earlier.

Shares of F5 Networks (FFIV) are up $0.50 to $30.65. Option volume is 2x the daily average. The June $30 call volume is at 1,800, about 50% of Open Interest (OI) with 85% taking place at the bid.The July $35 call has traded 2,200 contracts against 2,200 prior OI with 90% of trade at ask price. The stock has climbed over 15% in the past week, and is nearing highest levels since last September. Looks like someone using strength to roll up an out-of-call position.

Shares of Synopsys (SNPS) are up $0.30 to $19.11, and its options have traded 7x average daily volume. Nearly all the activity has occurred on the put side. Active strikes are the September $20 and $22.50, which have each traded over 1,300 contracts with most of the transactions taking place at the asking price (suggesting this is new buying). The June $17.50 put has also seen buying, but the 1,288 contracts traded matches the strike's prior OI, so it could be someone closing a position. The company issued an earnings warning May 20, which sent stock down 14% that day. Today's option activity suggest traders think there could be another leg down in the stock.

Hartford (HIG) is seeing bearish order flow. Shares of the insurance company are down $0.60 to $14.05. There was heavy put buying right from the opening. The focus was in the June $14 put, which has seen over 25,000 contracts trade against prior open interest of just 5,000 contracts. Option volume is running 12x the daily average. All told, over 42,000 puts have traded to just 2,400 calls. Implied volatility has increased to over the 100% level, and 39,000 puts traded, compared to 2,300 calls.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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