Stocks quoted in this article:
Office-supply retailer Staples (SPLS – 13-3/16) is trading almost six percent lower on above-average volume this afternoon. Earlier this afternoon, the stock recorded a new annual low at 12-3/4. The three-month average daily volume for SPLS is 5.74 million shares. Today, 19.58 million shares have swapped hands.
Yesterday, SPLS chief rival OfficeMax (OMX – 2-3/8) dropped almost 14 percent after issuing an earnings warning for the fourth quarter. OMX has continued its descent, sloughing off nearly 14 percent again today. SPLS is falling in sympathy on general concern for the office-supply niche. Also, SPLS was downgraded on Wall Street this morning, as Salomon Smith Barney cut its ratings on the shares to a "neutral" from a "buy."
On the options front, SPLS is dominating the PHLX, as its October 15 put is the most-heavily traded put on the exchange. Over 24,000 contracts have changed hands on this in-the-money, front-month position. This strike is presently home to 25,253 open contracts. A number of large blocks have traded between the bid and the ask prices throughout the day.