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

Shares of super-regional bank PNC Financial Services ( PNC) are currently down over 15% to $16.80 after falling as low as $16.20. The slide in the stock has spurred some put-buying that suggests that more downside slides, or at least more volatility, will be in the offing for PNC.

Looking at the PNC April 10 puts, we see that over 19,000 have traded in the first four hours of trading. The puts are currently trading for around $1.75, with the stock near $16.80. The current open interest in the puts is just 141, according to the Sidewinder report at

What is interesting about this activity is that over half of the volume has been dominated by buyers, which has served to push up the implied volatility of the puts even as a seller recently came in to sell 8,500 after 10,000 had been bought. Last night, the puts closed at 85 cents with the stock at $20. That computed to an implied volatility of 205. Now with the options at $1.75 and the stock at $16.80, that is an implied volatility of 247.

It is worth noting that this drop in PNC is coming even as the shares do not have any company-specific news. Rather, the stock is down along with shares of other banks, both large and small. But PNC's slide is far outpacing any of the others. It is worth remembering that PNC purchased/saved National City in October and closed the deal Jan. 2. As we are all too aware, we have seen instances where the acquired company has destroyed the equity value of its buyer, like a virus killing its host. Wells Fargo ( WFC) bought Wachovia, and Bank of America ( BAC) bought Merrill.

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