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ValueClick (VCLK - 17.10) has seen a rare upswing in put volume today, as more than 1,700 of these options have changed hands so far, reflecting an impressive 48 times the equity's average daily volume. At least 1,250 puts have been traded at the February 17 strike -- most of them between the ask and bid prices, making it difficult to determine if they were bought or sold. However, this at-the-money option currently holds peak put open interest of just 1,016 contracts, pointing to the initiation of new positions.
This surge in put activity is a change of pace for the online marketing service. In fact, VCLK sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.48, which indicates that calls more than double puts among options expiring within three months. This ratio registers in only the 29th percentile of its annual range, confirming that near-term options players have been more bullishly oriented toward the stock just 29% of the time during the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, short interest on VCLK fell by 16.59% during the most recent reporting period. However, these bearish plays still make up a healthy 9.3% of the equity's float, implying that short sellers looking to hedge may be responsible for some of the recent call volume. Either way, it would take more than 11 days to cover these shorted shares, at the stock's average daily trading volume.
On the technical front, VCLK has gained around 4.5% year-to-date, but has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by close to 7% over the past three months. Still, a look at the charts shows that the stock continues to trade above its 200-day moving average, which has provided support to the equity for the past month.
In the afternoon hours of the session, VCLK is up about 1.7% and is trading at $17.10.