Market News

November 21, 2012  Wed 3:16 AM CT

Shares of J.C. Penney are just off four-year lows, and one long-term trade is anticipating even more downside.

A trader bought 10,000 January 2014 10 puts for $1.39 on a wide bid/ask spread, optionMONSTER's Depth Charge tracking system shows. Open interest in the strike was just 517 contracts at the beginning of the day, so this is a new position.

The put buying wasn't tied to any trading in the underlying stock identified by our scanners. It could be hedging, but that seems very unlikely given how far out of the money they are. So it appears to be a straightforward bearish play that is looking for JCP to fall below $10 by expiration in early 2014. (See our Education section)

JCP was up 2.93 percent yesterday to close at $17.24. The struggling department-store operator fell to $15.69 on Friday, its lowest level since March 2009.
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Using puts to BUY stock

Puts are an options contract that gives buyers the right to sell their stock for a set price on or before a future date. However, puts can also be an effective way to BUY stock.

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