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January 25, 2013  Fri 9:17 AM CT

Shares of Aetna are just off multi-month highs, but a large trade is positioning for a potential drop.

optionMONSTER systems show that a trader bought 4,000 July 43 puts for $1.11 and sold the same number of July 36 puts for $0.24. Less than 10 minutes later they did the same trade in the same size, buying the 43 puts for $1.07 and selling the 36s for $0.25.

The average cost of this put vertical spread is $0.845, which is the amount at risk if AET remains above $43 through mid-July expiration. The maximum gain of $6.155 would be made if shares are below $36 at that expiration. (See our Education section)

AET is down 0.45 percent to $49.50 this morning, a day after seeing its highest close since April 2. Shares of the health-care benefits company have been trending higher from their 52-week low under $35 set in late July, and the spread would take a full profit if the stock gives up those gains.

More than 17,000 AET options trade already this morning, more than 10 times the daily average in the last month.
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