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The shares of OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (OVTI - 15.80) have followed the broader equities market into the black today, and are on pace to end a second straight week north of their 20-week moving average -- a feat not accomplished since July 2011. What's more, it looks like a handful of options traders are employing puts to bet on support for the stock.
Around midday, OVTI has seen close to 9,000 puts cross the tape -- about six times its average intraday volume, and nearly three times the number of OVTI calls traded. Most active has been the out-of-the-money March 13 put, which has seen close to 4,600 contracts traded on open interest of fewer than 4,400, pointing to newly opened positions. However, as alluded to earlier, the majority of the back-month puts have crossed at the bid price, suggesting they were sold.
By writing the puts to open, the sellers are expecting OVTI to remain north of the $13 level through March options expiration. In this best-case scenario, the puts will expire worthless, and the traders can pocket the initial premium received from the sale -- which represents the maximum potential reward on the play.
From a broader sentiment standpoint, however, it appears speculators have been scooping up puts for more traditional reasons of late. On the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.89 -- in the 90th annual percentile. In other words, options traders have bought to open OVTI puts over calls at a much faster pace than usual during the past couple of weeks.
At last check, OVTI has tacked on 3.3% to linger in the $15.80 neighborhood.