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Puts were popular on General Mills, Inc. (GIS) on Tuesday, with 4,221 of these bearishly biased bets changing hands -- more than double the equity's usual put volume of 1,953 contracts.

Option players set their sights on the May series, which will assume front-month status on Monday. Most popular was the May 70 put, which saw volume of 3,033 contracts traded. Overnight, open interest increased by 2,078, indicating that new positions were opened at this strike, which is home to peak put open interest for the May series. What's more, nearly 40% traded at the ask price, suggesting that a portion of these contracts were purchased.

If these May 70 puts were bought to open, then speculators are betting that GIS will fall below the $70 level in the next month. At last check, the cereal concern was perched at $70.49.

In the front-month series, the April 70 put is home to peak put open interest, with 9,266 contracts in residence. In order for these puts to expire in the money, GIS needs to retreat by less than one point by Friday.

Technically speaking, GIS is in the midst of a short-term downtrend, sinking beneath the support of its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, which completed a bearish cross at the end of March.

Currently, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 1.54, in the 100th annual percentile. In other words, short-term speculators are more bearish toward GIS, than at any other time during the last year.


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