) -- Although
did not announce significant news Tuesday, at least one investor is taking the opportunity to bet on a further slide in the grocery chain's shares by buying puts.
Out of the gate today, an investor bought 4,400 December 22.5 puts for around 65 cents per contract. Current open interest on these options is 250 contracts, indicating investors traded these options to open. The implied volatility of these puts is currently 30.
Assuming these investors hold these contracts until December expiration, this put purchase will make money if KR shares expire lower than $21.86. But keep in mind that investors could sell these puts if the stock drops significantly throughout the next month and take profits instead of holding on to them.
KR shares have rallied about 19% since their March lows, but the stock is also about 30% off its 52-week high of $30.99. This rally could be the reason we are seeing substantial put buying in the name. Another reason could be because the market expects KR to announce earnings either the first or second week of December, and buying these puts provides protection beyond the earnings release.
Put buying such as this does not mean investors should clean out their supply of KR shares. But it is noteworthy that at least one investor expressed bearishness or bought puts to hedge a long position in the stock, most likely looking for further downside.
Put-buying activity has pushed the price of the December 22.5 puts up five cents on the day. Meanwhile, KR shares are down 22 cents to $23.53 so far on the day.
-- Written by Jud Pyle in Chicago
At the time of publication, Pyle did not hold any positions in the stock mentioned. Jud Pyle, CFA, is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network. Pyle started his career in finance in 1994 as a derivative analyst with SBC Warburg. After four years with Warburg, Pyle joined PEAK6 Investments, L.P., in 1998 as an equity options trader and as chief risk officer. A native of Minneapolis, Pyle received his bachelor's degree in economics and history from Colgate University in 1994. As a trader, Pyle traded on average over 5,000 contracts per day, and over 1.2 million contracts per year. He also built the stock group for all PEAK6 Investments, L.P. hedging, which currently trades on average over 5 million shares per day, and over 1 billion shares per year. Further, from 2004-06, he managed the trading and risk management for PEAK6 Investments L.P.'s lead market-maker operation on the former PCX exchange, which traded more than 10,000 contracts per day. Pyle is the "Mad About Options" resident expert. He is also a regular contributor to "Options Physics."