Stocks quoted in this article:
Xilinx (XLNX - 33.36) has seen a surge in put activity today, as roughly 17,000 of these options have been traded so far, reflecting 14 times the equity's expected intraday put volume. Nearly 4,700 puts have changed hands at the out-of-the-money January 2012 30 strike -- more than half of them at the bid price, suggesting they were sold. This option currently carries peak back-month put open interest of 6,400 contracts, so it's unclear whether traders are selling new neutral-to-bullish bets, or closing out existing bearish bets.
However, XLNX's sentiment backdrop is still predominantly bearish. The Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at 2.11, confirming that puts more than double calls among options expiring within three months. This ratio ranks in the 84th percentile of its annual range, meaning that short-term options players have been more pessimistically aligned toward the stock just 16% of the time during the past year.
What's more, XLNX's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume rests at a whopping 38.88, indicating that puts bought to open have outnumbered calls by almost 39 to one during the past two weeks. In fact, this ratio is just 4 percentage points shy of an annual high, signaling that traders have been snatching up bearish options over bullish at a much faster-than-usual pace.
On the technical front, XLNX is up more than 15% year-to-date, and has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by over 7% during the past 40 sessions. On the charts, the stock recently broke out resistance at above its 10-week and 20-week moving averages. This positive price action may be causing some traders to exit their positions on the January 30 put.
At last check, XLNX is up about 0.5% and is trading at $33.36.