Bears Blitz Slumping Seadrill Limited, Transocean Ltd.

Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) and Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) are following their sector peers into the red today

by Karee Venema

Published on May 14, 2015 at 2:18 PM

Unlike the broader equities market, Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) and Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) are in the red today -- down 6.1% and 2.8%, respectively -- amid a sector-wide retreat. The move lower has sparked a rush of put activity in each equity's options pits, with speculators rolling the dice on additional losses over the next five weeks.

For SDRL, specifically, buy-to-open activity has been detected at the June 11 put. Delta on the option is perched at negative 0.11, suggesting a roughly 1-in-10 probability of an in-the-money finish at June options expiration -- a time frame that includes SDRL's Thursday, May 28 earnings report. At last check, the stock was lingering near $14.09.

Meanwhile, with RIG hovering near $20.80, traders are purchasing new positions at the June 20 put to roll the dice on the stock breaching the round-number mark by the close on Friday, June 20, when the soon-to-be front-month options expire. Delta on this put is currently docked at negative 0.47, pointing to a roughly 1-in-2 shot the option will expire in the money.

From a wider perspective, today's heavy put volume echoes the activity seen at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) for both SDRL and RIG. For example, the former's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 1.73 across these exchanges rests in the 81st annual percentile, while the latter's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 5.25 ranks just 4 percentage points from a 52-week peak.

Considering Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) was sporting a year-to-date advance of almost 26% heading into today's session -- and Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) a 2015 gain of roughly 17% -- some of the put buying could be a result of shareholders protecting paper profits. In fact, SDRL and RIG are sporting a 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 71 and 73, respectively, signaling a move into overbought territory -- and indicating a near-term pullback may have been in the cards.

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