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Hewlett-Packard Targeted by Bearish Traders

HPQ puts have emerged as the options of choice in recent weeks

by 12/5/2012 1:50 PM
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Options players have taken a bearish stance on Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ - 14.12) lately, according to volume data from the major options exchanges. During the past five days, speculators on the International Securities Exchange (ISE) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) have bought to open 19,039 puts on HPQ, compared to 7,195 calls. The resulting five-day put/call volume ratio of 2.65 indicates that bearish bets have nearly tripled their bullish counterparts over the past week.

During the past 10 days, meanwhile, traders on the ISE, CBOE, and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) have bought to open 0.90 put for every call on HPQ. This ratio registers in the 81st percentile of its annual range, suggesting that options players have scooped up puts over calls at a faster clip just 19% of the time during the past year.

Plenty of short sellers also remain skeptical of HPQ's prospects. Short interest accounts for a healthy 5% of the stock's float, or 4.2 times the equity's average daily trading volume.

Given HPQ's significant underperformance on the charts, this broadly bearish attitude isn't too surprising. The shares have lost 47.5% of their value year-to-date, and today's rebound attempt has so far been capped by resistance at HPQ's descending 50-day moving average.

 Daily Chart of HPQ since July 2012 With 50-Day Moving Average


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