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Boston Scientific (BSX) Bulls Could Be Bracing for a Pullback

Speculators bought out-of-the-money puts on uptrending BSX

by 2/13/2013 10:35 AM
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The shares of Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX - 7.49) have rallied roughly 50% since skimming the $5 region in late October, ushered higher atop their 10-day moving average. As such, the stock's Relative Strength Index (RSI) now stands at 74 -- in overbought territory, suggesting a breather could be in the short-term cards. Against this backdrop, options traders are picking up puts to either gamble on a pullback, or lock in a profit on their BSX shares.

During the course of Tuesday's session, the medical device manufacturer saw roughly 5,800 puts cross the tape -- more than seven times the norm, and more than twice the number of BSX calls exchanged. Nearly all of the action transpired at the out-of-the-money March 7 put, which saw volume of almost 5,400 contracts. All of the puts traded at the ask price, and open interest skyrocketed overnight, confirming our theory of buy-to-open activity.

By purchasing the puts to open, the buyers have one of two motives: to profit on a significant near-term retreat, or to protect a long stock position. In the case of the former, the buyers will profit if BSX sinks below $6.93 (strike minus the volume-weighted average price of $0.07) by mid-March. In the case of the latter, their primary goal is still for BSX to extend its upward momentum. The protective puts simply lock in an acceptable price at which to unload their stock ($7 a share), should the equity take a turn for the worse.

As alluded to earlier, BSX has been on a tear, adding about 30% since the start of the year. However, the security is in danger of ending beneath the aforementioned 10-day trendline for the first time in 2013, despite a slew of bullish brokerage notes this morning. More specifically, Jefferies upped its price target to $8.30 from $7.60, Mizuho lifted its target to $7 from $6.80, and Stifel hiked its target to $9 from $8.

Daily chart of Boston Scientific (BSX) since December 2012


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