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Option Volume Briefs: A CONSOL Energy Pessimist Shifts Gears

CNX bears close losing long puts to open a bear put spread

by 10/8/2012 12:39 PM
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If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Bearish speculators on CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX - 32.29) are taking this advice to heart today as they exit a long put position in favor of a bearish put spread. CNX is one of the most active names in the options pits today, as blocks of more than 80,000 contracts have traded on three separate strikes.

It looks as though a CNX bear is going long the January 25/31 bear put spread by buying 81,994 of the January 31 puts for $2.47 each, and selling the same number of January 25 puts for $0.74 each, resulting in a net debit of $1.73. At or below the $25 mark at expiration, gains peak at $4.27 (difference in strike prices less the premium paid). Above $31, losses are limited to the premium paid.

But it also appears this same trader closed out of an 84,989-contract block of the January 29 puts, collecting $1.71 per contract. Sources at Trade-Alert indicate these puts were originally purchased for $3.55 in early August, when CNX shares were trading about 10% lower than where they are now.

In other words, the trader has lost roughly 50% on these long puts but is going back to the bearish well with a slightly more conservative strategy.

While CNX shares are still in the red for 2012, they have gained more than 20% off their June low. The stock has now tiptoed above its 10-month moving average, which has contained all monthly closes since August 2011.

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