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Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP - 42.61) announced on Tuesday that it will acquire sector peer StarBev LP for $3.54 billion in an effort to expand its business overseas. The news appears to have sparked a rise in put activity yesterday, as close to 3,500 of these options changed hands, reflecting a whopping 44 times the equity's average daily volume. Nearly 1,200 puts were traded at the out-of-the-money April 40 strike -- the majority of them at the bid price, suggesting they were sold. Open interest at this strike declined by 35 contracts overnight, pointing to liquidation activity. Even so, this option still holds peak put open interest of 2,154 contracts.
This uptick in put activity is unusual for TAP. The Schaffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in at 0.76, indicating that calls comfortably outnumber puts among options scheduled to expire in three months. This ratio registers in the 24th percentile of its annual range, which means that near-term options players have been more call-heavy toward the stock just 24% of the time during the last 12 months.
Meanwhile, short interest on the beer brewer jumped by 30.43% over the most recent reporting period, raising the possibility that some of the recent call volume is the result of hedging activity by short sellers. However, there is still plenty of room in TAP's bearish camp, as these shorted shares account for a paltry 1.38% of the stock's float.
On the technical front, TAP has shed around 8.5% on a year-over-year basis, and has lagged the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by roughly 6% during the past three months. Due to yesterday's drop, the stock is now trading below its 10-day moving average, which had previously served as support since mid-March.
In the first hour of the session, the equity is off by about 1.3% to trade at $42.61. Standard & Poor's Rating Services stated after yesterday's close that it has lowered its outlook on TAP to "negative" from "positive."