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January 31, 2013  Thu 9:55 AM CT

The biggest option trade of the day so far is an enormous put spread in Exxon Mobil.

More than 76,000 XOM options have traded hands already this morning, compared to a daily average of 28,000 over the last month. A single put spread dominates the activity.

optionMONSTER's Depth Charge system shows that a trader bought 30,000 July 87.50 puts for $2.79 and, at the same time, sold 30,000 July 77.50 puts for the bid price of $0.90. The volume was multiples of the previous open interest at each strike, clearly indicating that these are new positions.

This vertical spread costs the trader $1.89, which is the amount at risk if XOM remains above $87.50 through that expiration. The potential gain of $9.11 would be realized if shares are below the lower $77.50 strike price at that time. (See our Education section)

Shares of the energy giant haven't been below $77.50 since the June low, and even then they did not close below that price. XOM is up fractionally today at $90.73 after testing resistance at $92 for the last week.
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