Whether it was the unseasonably warm weather in Chicago and on the East Coast or trepidation ahead of next week's

Federal Open Market Committee

meeting, not many people wanted to play in the options market Monday.

"It's been rather dull," said Rod Jamieson, vice president of options at

First Union Securities

in Chicago. "It's been slow here for a week." He did note that there has been a little bottom fishing in the tech stocks with some investors buying calls, which appreciate along with the price of the stock.

There was some significant activity, however, on the options on the

Nasdaq 100 unit trust

(QQQ) - Get Report

as technology stocks took a tumble.

Put option action on the QQQ was robust, particularly in the May 88 puts, of which nearly 13,400 contracts traded by midday. Those puts jumped 5/8 ($62.50) to 3 1/4 ($325).

Part of the reason for the decline in the QQQ was a critical cover story on key

Nasdaq Composite Index

component

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

in

Barron's

this weekend.

The May 88 puts were trading at 3 1/4 ($325), up 5/8 ($62.50). The QQQ was off 2 1/16 to 89 3/8.

Cisco options also were active in the wake of the

Barron's

story. On the

Chicago Board Options Exchange

, more than 5,800 of the May 65 calls have traded. The May 65 calls were trading at 3 3/8 ($337.50), down 1 7/8 ($187.50). Shares of Cisco were down 4, or 5.9%, to 63 3/4.

Allstate's

(ALL) - Get Report

out-of-the-money July 27 1/2 calls were seeing significant interest Monday on the Amex, with 5,000 contracts trading, compared to open interest of 1,724.

On the

Amex

, the contracts were trading at 3/4 ($75), down 1/8 ($12.50). Allstate's stock was up 1/8 to 23.