The large blocks of puts in XLB, XLI, and XLF, as well as the spread trading in XHB, XRT, and XLY, are short-term bearish positions that will pay off if the equity markets make a move lower in the near future. It's probable that portfolio managers initiated some of these trades against stock positions to hedge short-term risk. Nevertheless, the overall flow seems somewhat defensive and reflects the view that the S&P 500 might soon pull back from its five-year highs.

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At the time of publication, Henry Schwartz held no positions in the stocks or issues mentioned.

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