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Bears Take the Wheel at Hertz

By David Russell, reporter at OptionMonster

NEW YORK -- Hertz Global (HTZ) shot to a long-term high earlier this week along with other car-rental stocks, but Wednesday the options paper was bearish.

OptionMonster's tracking programs detected the purchase of about 3,000 April 23 puts against previous open interest of just 289 contracts. The early blocks priced for 65 cents to 70 cents and then inflated to as much as $1.15 as the shares pushed lower.

Puts lock in the price where investors can sell stock, which can provide big leverage in a pullback. They're used by shareholders looking to hedge against a drop or traders hoping to profit from a drop.

Hertz shares fell 3.8% to $22.52 but have more than doubled since July. The stock has been climbing amid consistently strong financial results and as money pours into the transportation sector.

In another big trade Wednesday, the April 22 calls were sold and the April 20 puts were bought. That also reflects a belief that upside is limited in the near term. However, volume was below open interest at both strikes.

Total option volume was five times greater than average in the session.

Russell has no positions in HTZ.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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