By Chris McKhann, an analyst at OptionMonster.

As Bank of America ( BAC) hovers above its 52-week low, options traders today are apparently anticipating the stock will fall sharply in the next six months.

Trading is heavy in the March options as 20,000 March 3 puts and more than 38,000 March 4 calls change hands, with one block of the latter going for $0.32. This action in both strikes in March is less than their respective open interest levels, so the trades could be closing positions.

At the same time, OptionMonster's tracking systems show unusual volume out in August, where two large blocks of the August 2.50 puts traded. Blocks of 20,000 and 15,000 both went for $0.92, higher than the theoretical value and thereby indicating they were purchased. The stock would need to be at $1.58 by expiration just to break even and below that to produce a profit.

BAC is just about flat in midday trading at $3.17 but still above its Feb. 20 low of $2.53. The stock reached a high of $43.45 almost a year ago but was trading over $38 as recently as October.

The writer holds no securities mentioned in the article.

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