This column was originally published on RealMoney on Feb. 28 at 2:35 p.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.

Funny how some groups are so linked that you can see the hedge funds run in and buy puts on all when one of their number gets smashed.

Take the broker cohort. Goldman Sachs ( GS), Morgan Stanley ( MS), Lehman Brothers ( LEH), Bear Stearns ( BSC), Legg Mason ( LM) -- all being just poleaxed.

To me, that will become an opportunity, but only when I see even more put volume than I have seen. I would love to see the Goldman 140 near-term puts have several thousand in volume, which would mean that we could be ready for a reversal. You don't see nearly enough put volume yet in Legg or Bear, but check out Lehman -- now that's the one everyone's keying on. Thousands! And egads, look at all that Merrill Lynch ( MER) March 60 action -- someone really wants to press that down. When the others in the cohort reach those expanded levels of volume, we will be near the end of the raid and the beginning of the next move up.

Why the level of confidence? Because all you can really get out of this group is some sort of valuation downgrade. You can't get an earnings downgrade, because they are making too much money.

Of course, it is possible that you could get some sort of sentiment reversal, but that's hard to foresee ahead of the monster buyback that Merrill just committed to. You have to understand that these companies are overflowing with capital and sell, still, at steel-mill multiples. I still can't get over Goldman at 11 times earnings. What do people think is going to happen? A shutdown of the fixed-income markets? A merger ban? I mean, come on.

So, watch the put volume. Wait until the near-term put action is excessive on all, not just Merrill and Lehman, and then get ready to pull the trigger on some deep in the money calls and some two months out of the monies for a move that can be hammer-and-anvil-like.

That's the best kind.

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