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January 23, 2013  Wed 3:16 AM CT

PTEN: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
Patterson UTI Energy is up about 50 percent in the last six months, and one trader is betting that the stock will hold most of those gains.

optionMONSTER's systems detected the sale of 2,500 March 18 puts for $0.30 in less than 3 minutes late yesterday afternoon. This is a new position, as the strike showed no open interest before the trade.

PTEN rose 1.03 percent yesterday to close at $19.67, about $1 from its 52-week high from February. Shares of the oil and natural-gas drilling company slid to a 2012 low of $12.81 in June but have been trending higher since then with the rest of the energy sector.

Yesterday's put seller is positioned for PTEN to stay above the $18 strike price through expiration in mid-March. If the stock is below that strike price, the trader will face the obligation to buy the shares.

The company is scheduled to release fourth-quarter results on the morning of Feb. 7.
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