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Ciena Option Players Predict a Pullback

Skeptics scooped up CIEN's December 14 puts

by 11/8/2012 10:01 AM
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The shares of Ciena Corporation (NASDAQ:CIEN - 14.57) bucked the broad-market trend lower yesterday, gapping nearly 10% higher to challenge their 200-day moving average. However, it looks like some options traders are skeptical of the equity's ascent, as evidenced by yesterday's affinity for bearish bets.

During the course of the session, CIEN saw roughly 10,000 puts change hands -- more than five times its average daily put volume. Most popular was the December 14 put, which saw nearly 3,600 contracts traded. Almost all of the puts crossed at the ask price, and put open interest at the back-month strike swelled overnight, confirming our suspicions of newly bought positions.

By purchasing the puts to open, the buyers are expecting CIEN to perform an about-face and retreat beneath the $14 level within the next few weeks. Specifically, the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of the puts was $0.94, meaning the buyers need CIEN to breach the $13.06 level (strike minus average premium paid) within the options' lifetime. Nevertheless, even if CIEN extends yesterday's rally, the most the speculator can possibly lose is the initial premium paid for the options.

Broadening our sentiment scope, we find that yesterday's appetite for long puts is just more of the same for CIEN option traders. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) sits at 1.28, indicating that puts outnumber calls among options with a shelf-life of three months or less. Plus, this ratio registers in the 87th percentile of its annual range, suggesting short-term options players are much more put-heavy than usual right now.

In the same vein, short interest accounts for nearly 23% of CIEN's total available float. In fact, it would take more than seven sessions to buy back all of these bearish bets, at the security's average daily trading volume.

As alluded to earlier, the shares of CIEN soared nearly 10% yesterday, after AT&T (NYSE:T) announced plans to spend about $14 billion on wireless and broadband expansion over the next three years. However, the stock stopped just shy of its 200-day moving average, located in the $15 level, which is also home to CIEN's bearish gap in late August. In early trading, the security is extending its lead, up 0.8% to linger in the $14.57 neighborhood.

Daily Chart of CIEN since July 2012 With 200-Day Moving Average


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