Put-option trading in some bellwether tech names was one of the highlights of the session so far, as the
Nasdaq Composite Index
continued under pressure, but well off their session lows.
April 85 and May 85 puts were active, ahead of the company's Thursday earnings release. The
First Call/Thomson Financial
analysts estimates put the company's expected earnings at 18 cents a share.
Sun's April 85 put options were trading at 3 3/4 ($375), up 15/16 ($93.75) on volume of nearly 4,450 contracts. The May 85 puts were last at 6 ($600), up 3/4 ($75) on volume of 3,026 contracts.
Sun was trading down 9/16 to 90 7/16 at midday and floor traders were seeing budding interest in the company's calls, although little of it was registering in the volume numbers halfway through today's session.
Meanwhile, there's been plenty of action in options on the
unit trust, according to Jordan Kahn of
Kahn Asset Management
With the QQQs down 3/16 to 99 15/16 at midday, Kahn noted that the action was pointing more toward the out-of-the-money puts more than the calls.
Kahn said the action in options on the QQQs reflected in part a combination of continued hedging and some speculation that perhaps there's more downside for the market ahead. Kahn said he's bought out-of-the-money puts to hedge his tech holdings.
Puts appreciate in value as the underlying assets' value decreases, and buying puts is an expression of either a bearish sentiment or desire to protect underlying assets from short-term damage. Many of the QQQ put buyers likely have a part of their holdings in Nasdaq names that have racked up major gains in the past year, and are buying the puts to offset any current weakness.
Among the most popular contracts, the QQQ April 100 puts posted volume of 7,237 contracts and rose 3/8 ($37.50) to 5 ($500) at midday. On the call side, 12,127 contracts of the QQQ April 101 calls have traded at 3 7/8 ($362.50), unchanged from Monday.