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While the direction of the tech sector was clearly on the buy side in the overall market Thursday, options traders were sending more mixed signals.

Early this afternoon, the tech-loaded

Nasdaq Composite Index

had shaken off some morning weakness and was soaring. For the first time this week, the Nasdaq Comp was in the green, up nearly 3%.

Options players, however, said there wasn't much direction as far as flow in the market between put- and call-buying. The speculators who often play that market seemed unable to decide where they thought the market was headed.

"It's pretty choppy," said Pat Hickey, principal with


on the

Pacific Stock Exchange

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. Hickey said the action in options was "pretty evenly split" on the put-buying and call-buying side, with individual bargain-hunters buying calls and institutional investors leaning more toward the put side as insurance.

Joe Sunderman, manager of research at

Schaeffer's Investment Research

, an options trading and research firm in Cincinnati, said one thing he's looking at is the 90 strike price on the

Nasdaq 100 unit trust

(QQQ) - Get Invesco QQQ Trust Report

, better known as the QQQ, which could be a possible support level.

Sunderman pointed out that the April 90 puts, which have traded 7,568 contracts Thursday, were trading down 1 3/4 ($175) to 2 ($200 per contract). Open interest in that option as of yesterday stood at 22,410, a level of interest that shows it as a focal point of traders.

The QQQ was up 2 1/4 to 94 5/8.