2 Bank Stocks Being Blasted by Bears

WFC and MS are seeing put volume running at triple the intraday average

Deputy Editor
Mar 15, 2023 at 2:50 PM
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All eyes are still on regional bank stocks, as traders continue to adjust to the environment following SVB Financial Group's (SIVB) collapse.  

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) is 3.2% lower this afternoon, last seen trading at $38.24 as the sector resumes its selloff following news that Saudi National Bank won't assist Credit Suisse (CS) anymore. After earlier hitting its lowest level since July, WFC now sports a 23.3% year-over-year deficit, as well as a 7% year-to-date loss.

Put traders look like they're speculating that more losses are to come. A few hours ahead of the market's close, more than 123,000 puts have been traded, which is triple the amount typically seen at this point. The top two most popular contracts by far are the March 47.50 and 45 puts, respectively, with new positions being opened at both.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is also suffering today, sporting a 6.6% midday loss and trading at $83.98 at last glance. Contrary to its sector peers, Morgan Stanley stock's longer-term losses are more tame, and it's still up 11.1% in the last nine months. However, the equity is still trading near its lowest levels since November. 

Bears are also active in MS' options pits, with the 45,000 puts traded so far today amounting to three times the average intraday volume. New positions are being opened at the most popular contract, the weekly 3/24 85-strike put.


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