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The shares of Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (MXIM - 25.90) are in a fight with their 200-day moving average, which has capped the stock's recent series of higher highs. However, it appears some speculators are expecting the security to turn tail in the short term, as evidenced by yesterday's glut of put activity.
By the closing bell, MXIM had seen nearly 7,200 puts cross the tape -- about 49 times its average single-session put volume, and more than seven times the number of MXIM calls exchanged. Upon closer inspection, nearly all of the action centered on the July 27 put, which saw around 1 5,000 contracts change hands. What's more, nearly all of the soon-to-be front-month puts traded at the ask price, and put open interest skyrocketed at both strikes overnight, pointing to newly bought bearish bets.
Taking a broader view at the sentiment in the options pits, yesterday's affinity for MXIM puts is just more of the same. In fact, 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 27.74, suggesting traders have bought to open almost 28 puts for every call during the past couple of weeks. Plus, this ratio stands just two percentage points from a 52-week peak, implying that options players have initiated bearish bets over bullish at a near annual-high clip recently.
Likewise, the equity's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) -- which measures options slated to expire within three months -- sits at 0.90, in the 73rd percentile of its annual range. In other words, short-term options traders are currently more put-heavy than usual on MXIM.
Elsewhere on the Street, the analyst crowd is split when it comes to MXIM. Specifically, the security boasts 12 "buy" or better ratings, compared to 10 "hold" or worse recommendations.
As alluded to earlier, the shares of MXIM are currently battling their upward-sloping 200-day moving average. Furthermore, this trendline is lingering in the $26-$27 neighborhood, which has served as both support and resistance over the past year.