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Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) has been trending lower in recent months, with the shares off nearly 22% from their March 7 six-year high of $88.28. What's more, LVS went tumbling through support in the $72 region earlier this month, and the stock has yet to fill this bearish gap. Against this backdrop, put buyers have been active in the stock's options pits, and today's bears are betting on a steep slide through year's end.
Specifically, the most active LVS option so far is the December 55 put, where 5,000 contracts have changed hands -- mostly at the ask price, hinting at buyer-driven activity. Implied volatility has edged higher, and volume outstrips open interest, hinting at the initiation of new positions.
By initiating these long puts, traders are expecting LVS to retreat more than 20% from its current perch at $69.24 in order to breach the strike price. Should the stock finish north of the strike at December options expiration, the most the speculators stand to lose is the premium paid. The options market isn't too confident this put will expire in the money, as its delta is docked at negative 0.077.
As noted, put players have been active in Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s options pits for some time. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), for example, the stock's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.81 ranks in the bearishly skewed 74th percentile of its annual range.