Stocks quoted in this article:
Bearish investors zeroed in on China-based Yongye International (YONG - 4.13) on Friday, as more than 2,600 puts changed hands, which was quadruple the equity's average daily volume. Almost 1,500 of these puts were traded at the out-of-the-money March 3 strike -- and the volume was evenly split between the ask and bid prices, pointing to a mix of buyer- and seller-driven activity. Open interest on this put rose by 1,112 contracts over the weekend, making it safe to say that most of the volume at this strike was made up of newly opened positions. This put now holds open interest of 1,866 contracts.
This uptick in put activity is nothing new for the agricultural product manufacturer, as it sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.20 -- indicating that puts comfortably outnumber calls among options expiring within three months. This ratio registers in the 80th percentile of its annual range, signaling that short-term options players have been more bearishly aligned toward the stock just 20% of the time during the last 12 months.
Furthermore, YONG's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio sits at 3.10, confirming that traders have bought to open more than three puts for every call during the last two weeks. In fact, this ratio sits in the 92nd annual percentile, meaning that investors have been snapping up bearish options over bullish at an almost annual-high clip.
Technically speaking, YONG has gained more than 17% in January alone, but has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by roughly 18% during the past 60 sessions. At last check, YONG is down about 0.3% to hover at the $4.13 level, and is at risk of closing today's session beneath support at its 20-day moving average.