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Put players have been eyeing Atmel Corporation (ATML - 8.97) today, as 2,011 of these options have been exchanged so far, which is more than five times above the norm. Most of the action has occurred at the April 11 strike, where 2,000 puts have been traded -- nearly all of them at the bid price, pointing to seller-fueled volume. This option currently holds peak put open interest of 4,031 contracts, making it difficult to discern whether new positions are being opened here. However, because these puts are in the money, today's trading could be indicative of profit-taking activity on ATML.
This preference for puts over calls is business as usual for ATML. The Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at 1.3, signaling that puts outnumber calls among options set to expire in three months. This ratio ranks higher than all other readings taken over the past 12 months, which means that short-term options traders are more bearishly slanted toward the stock now than at any other time during the last year.
From a technical perspective, ATML has lost more than 32% over the last 52 weeks, and has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by almost 10% during the past 40 sessions. On the charts, the stock is already on pace to close a second consecutive week beneath its 20-week moving average, which had previously served as support since mid-January.
In the afternoon hours of the session, ATML is down around 3% to trade at $8.97.