United States Steel Corporation (X) Swarmed by Put Buyers

United States Steel Corporation (X) is seeing a rare dose of put buying today

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Published on Mar 27, 2015 at 2:28 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) is staring at a 1.4% loss this afternoon, hovering around $24.50. Not surprisingly, option bettors have set their sights on puts.

Diving right in, 23,000 puts are currently on the tape -- or about twice the amount expected for this point in the day. Drilling deeper, the May 21 put is among X's most active contracts, and data suggests fresh positions are being purchased here. In so doing, the put buyers are rolling the dice on the commodity stock tumbling below $21 by the close on Friday, May 15, when the back-month options expire.

Today's penchant for put buying represents a departure from the longer-term trend. X's 10-day call/put volume ratio across the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) is 1.32 -- which ranks in the 71st percentile of its annual range. However, it's possible some of these calls -- especially at out-of-the-money strikes -- were purchased by short sellers as upside protection. After all, one-third of X's float is sold short, representing 5.5 times average daily trading levels.

On the technical front, United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) hasn't been much to look at. The shares are down 8.4% year-to-date, and have struggled for the last couple months to conquer congestion in the $25-$26 area.


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