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Traders Satisfy Their Bearish Appetites With Zipcar Puts

ZIP's back-month put volume balloons

by 5/4/2012 10:42 AM
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Zipcar, Inc. (ZIP - 10.69) saw a flurry of bearish options activity on Thursday, as more than 1,500 puts changed hands, which was six times above the norm. Most active was the June 10 strike, where 1,014 puts were traded -- almost all of them at the ask price, signaling buyer-driven volume. Open interest at this strike jumped by 1,000 contracts overnight, indicating that most of the volume consisted of newly added positions. This option now holds peak put open interest of 1,005 contracts. By purchasing these puts to open, investors are expecting the stock to fall south of $10 by June expiration.

This preference for ZIP puts over calls is par for the course. The car-sharing network sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.35, conveying that puts comfortably outnumber puts among options scheduled to expire in three months. This ratio registers in the 68th percentile of its annual range, which means that short-term options players are showing a healthier-than-usual appetite for puts over calls.

From a technical perspective, ZIP is down about 20% year-to-date, and has lagged the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by around 28% during the past three months. A look at the charts shows that the stock continues to trade well below its 20-day moving average, which has acted as a ceiling for the past month. At last check, the equity is currently down 5.4% to trade at a new record low of $10.69.


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