By Jud Pyle, CFA, chief investment strategist for the Options News Network

Shares of

Harley-Davidson

(HOG) - Get Report

have declined 12 cents to $22.61 so far today without any news from the company, and at least one investor took a moderately bearish stance on the motorcycle name and bought a hefty number of near-term put spreads.

Around 11:30 a.m. EST, an investor bought 12,000 March 19-22 bear put spreads for 83 cents per spread. By afternoon trading, the March 19 puts and March 22 puts dropped 2 cents, to 25 cents and 95 cents, respectively. This HOG put-spread buyer sold the lower-strike puts to help finance the purchase of the March 22 puts.

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The March 19 puts are home to current open interest of 651 contracts, while the March 22 puts are home to 2,800 contracts of open interest, indicating the investor bought the put spreads to open.

HOG shares reached a 52-week high of around $30 at the beginning of December, but have since sold off roughly 25%.

The put-spread buying action we saw today suggests one investor expects slight downside in the stock throughout the next 37 days until March expiration.

If HOG shares drop below $19, the put spread buyer makes a maximum profit of $2.17 (the difference between the strikes minus the premium paid), and makes money if the shares close lower than $21.17. Investors incur a maximum risk of the premium paid, or 83 cents per spread, if HOG shares close at $22 or higher.

Heavy put-buying action does not mean investors should run out and sell their HOG shares. Keep in mind, however, that at least one investor expects a 6% drop in the stock throughout the next couple weeks.

Jud Pyle is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network and the portfolio manager of TheStreet.com Options Alerts. Click here for a free trial for Options Alerts. Mr. Pyle writes regularly about options investing for TheStreet.com.

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."