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Bearish speculators continue to try and call a top to the rally in Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK - 4.19), which has gained 157% off its annual low of $1.63 (reached in mid-July). Put speculators are evidently following up yesterday's big buying campaign with another round in early trading today.
Once again, the January 2013 4.50 put is under the spotlight. On Tuesday, nearly 52,000 contracts traded at this in-the-money strike, more than 48,500 of which translated as new open interest this morning. The bulk of these traded at the ask price, indicating they were bought to open. Today, more than 50,000 contracts have already changed hands, 82% of which have crossed at the ask. While some of this activity may be yesterday's buyers quickly jumping ship, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE) suggests at least part of the volume is again the work of put buyers.
While yesterday's puts traded at a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of $0.55, today's are going off at $0.50, bringing the breakeven price for today's traders to $4.00. In other words, NOK needs to be trading south of this level by the Jan. 18 close. This is a drop of 4.5% from current levels.
These option bears could have an uphill battle ahead of them, as some analysts forecast an impending short-covering rally for the shares. One trader told Reuters, "Short sellers are feeling the heat" on NOK, given the stock's improving technical backdrop. In fact, short interest has dropped 5.6% during the past two reporting periods, but still represents 8.6% of the equity's float and is just off an annual high. As such, there is plenty of upside potential left as these short sellers close out of their bearish bets.