OptionMonster's tracking systems detected the purchase of about 4,200 March 48 puts, most of which priced for $1.70 to $1.79. Previous open interest was just 31 contracts, which indicates new positions were initiated.
Puts lock in the price where a stock can be sold, so they gain value if a drop occurs. Investors use them to hedge long positions or to speculate on a selloff. (See our education section.)
Dick's stock fell 0.88% to $49.65 on Wednesday. It climbed along with other retailers in October and November, but has spent the last month trapped around the same level where it gapped lower in May. That could make some chart watchers fear a reversal lower.
Approximately 3,000 March 43 puts were also sold for 62 cents, suggesting the partial use of a bearish put spread. That strategy would result in profit of about 360 percent if Dick's stock is at $43 or lower on expiration.
Total option volume was 10 times greater than average in the session, with puts outnumbering calls by a bearish 47-to-1 ratio.
(A version of this post appeared on InsideOptions Pro yesterday.)