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Symantec Corporation (SYMC - 16.24) has taken a nosedive today, after the company slashed its forecast for fourth-quarter earnings. As a result, nearly 9,500 puts have been exchanged so far, which is 14 times the equity's expected intraday volume. Most popular have been the May 16 and 20 strikes, where almost 5,200 of these puts have been traded, collectively -- most of them at the bid price, signaling seller-driven volume. This activity exceeds current levels of open interest at both strikes, indicating that new positions are being initiated here today.
This jump in put activity is nothing new for SYMC. The Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) checks in 0.94, which arrives in the 91st percentile of its annual range. In other words, short-term options players have been more bearishly aligned toward the stock just 9% of the time during the past year.
Despite this bearishly skewed outlook toward SYMC, there is still plenty of optimism surrounding the software concern. Of the 26 analysts following the equity, 20 have doled out "buy" or better endorsements, compared to six "holds" and not a single "sell" rating.
In terms of technical performance, today's decline has pushed the stock well below its 50-week moving average, which has served as support since early February.
At midday, SYMC is off by more than 10% to hover at $16.24, paring its year-to-date gain to just about 4%. The company is scheduled to reveal its final fourth-quarter earnings on May 2.