Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) Put Options Fly Off the Shelves Ahead of 'Brexit' Vote

Put buyers are flooding the XLF ahead of next week's 'Brexit' vote in the U.K.

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Jun 16, 2016 at 12:33 PM

The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) has been an increasingly popular target for options bears, as traders bet on possible post-"Brexit" turmoil for financial stocks after next week's key referendum in the U.K. In fact, daily XLF put volume is set to hit an annual high today -- with more than 230,000 puts traded so far, compared to fewer than 17,000 calls -- and puts accounted for a whopping 94% of XLF options traded yesterday.

The 21-day moving average of XLF put volume over call volume is just off its highest point in more than two years, peaking at 2.85 last week. As a result of this growing accumulation of puts, the exchange-traded fund's (ETF) put/call open interest ratio is at its highest point since January.

XLF OI ratio June 16


Honing in on near-term options, puts more than double calls among options expiring within three months, as measured by the ETF's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.30. This ratio stands higher than 93% of all others from the past year, reflecting the bigger-than-usual put-bias among near-term traders. Further, the 50-day moving average of the SOIR is now at its highest point since March 2015.

XLF SOIR MA June 16


The August 22 put is most popular among all series, after a trader yesterday apparently rolled down a long position from the August 23 strike. This strike now harbors more than 187,000 XLF puts outstanding. The July 22 strike is also home to peak put open interest in the soon-to-be front-month series. The buyers of these puts expect XLF to breach $22 by the options' respective expiration dates. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF)  was last seen at $22.53, down 5.1% so far in June, after flirting with year-to-date highs late last month

XLF August OI June 16


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