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Put players pounced on AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL - 29.38) on Friday, with single-session volume soaring to more than eight times the norm. Digging deeper into the data, however, it seems speculators employed these typically bearish options to gamble on limited downside for AOL in the short-to-intermediate term.
By the close, AOL had seen around 11,000 puts change hands, compared to its average daily volume of fewer than 1,400 puts. On the flip side, just under 2,700 AOL calls crossed the tape.
Most popular were the out-of-the-money February 27 and April 26 puts, which saw about 5,000 and 4,600 contracts traded, respectively. Almost all of the puts crossed at the bid price, and put open interest soared at both strikes over the weekend, pointing to sell-to-open activity.
By writing the puts to open, the sellers are expecting AOL to remain north of the strikes through their respective expirations. In this best-case scenario, the puts will remain out of the money, and the sellers can retain the entire premium received at initiation.
At last check, AOL has shed 0.2% to linger in the $29.38 region. From a longer-term perspective, the equity could find support in the $28-$29 area, which acted as resistance from early April through late July.