Index Options Plays Show Traders Looking for Bottom - TheStreet

Judging from at least some of the action in index options, it looks like some pros have placed bets that the market has put in its lows for at least the time being.

At their lows, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

had fallen as low as 3615; the

Nasdaq 100

had slumped to 3505; while the

S&P 500

tumbled as low as 1421. Those gauges all made their lows either at the open of trading or shortly after the opening bell.

Martin Galivan, a floor broker with

Investec Ernst

at the

Chicago Board Options Exchange

, said he saw a lot of call buying and put selling when the market was around its lowest point. One big Wall Street brokerage firm bought 8,000 of the

S&P 500

October 1425 call options. The underlying S&P 500 was down 22 to 1427 early Friday afternoon.

The October 1425 calls were trading down 6 ($600) to 38 1/2 ($3,850) on volume of 9,900 contracts.

Activity in the mini-Nasdaq 100 options, or MNX, at the CBOE, has quieted down after a flurry early in the session, traders said. The MNX was down 12 to 360.

One trader at

Wolverine Trading

, which is the designated primary market maker for MNX options, said there was heavy put buying out of the gate this morning but the action had quieted around lunchtime.

Investors buy puts to either speculate on more downside for the underlying security or as protection against a long position in the underlying security or an equivalent security.

One West Coast hedge fund manager said he was heartened by the market's rebound from a disastrous opening but was watching the

Volatility Index

and put/call ratio for any signs of growing concern.

"Right now, it looks fine, but if the VIX and put/call ratio start to increase before the end of the day, I'd be a little worried," he said. "People won't want to be exposed over the weekend."

For a look at the morning's action, see TSC's early Options Buzz.