Market News

September 28, 2012  Fri 12:20 PM CT

The bears are circling Interactive Brokers, which has been limping for months.

optionMONSTER's Depth Charge monitoring system detected the purchase of about 1,300 October 14 puts for $0.35 and the sale of a matching number of October 14 calls for $0.31. Volume was more than 7 times open interest at both strikes.

The trade cost about $0.04 and is highly leveraged to downside in the brokerage stock, which gapped lower following its last two quarterly reports. The date of the next release hasn't yet been announced, but last year's schedule suggests it will occur around Oct. 20.

IBKR is down 0.5 percent to $14.05 in afternoon trading. It has lost almost one-fifth of its value in the last six months, compared with a decline of less than 2 percent for the broader financial sector.

The stock has been attempting to stage a weak rally since the summer and now seems to be hitting resistance at its 100-day moving average. That could make be leading some chart watchers to expect another push to the downside, which would help explain today's bearish trade.

The position could be a speculative downside bet or the work of a shareholder looking to hedge against a drop. (See our Education section for more on how calls and puts can be used to manage risk and place directional bets.)

Overall option volume in IBKR is quadruple the daily average in the session, according to the Depth Charge.

Disclosure: Interactive Brokers is a competitor of optionMONSTER's sister company, tradeMONSTER.
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