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June 21, 2013  Fri 4:14 AM CT

Patterson-UTI Energy has fallen below a key moving average, but one trader apparently believes that the oil and natural-gas driller will hold current levels.

optionMONSTER's tracking systems detected the sale of 2,357 July 20 puts in one print for $0.77 yesterday. This is clearly a new position, as the strike's open interest was just 134 contracts before the trade appeared.

The put seller will collect the $0.77 credit as profit if PTEN is above the $20 strike price when those July puts expire a month from today. If it is below that level, he or she will be on the hook to buy shares at an effective price of $19.23 once that credit is included. Traders sometimes sell at-the-money puts in hopes of purchase the underlying stock at a lower price. (See our Education section)

PTEN fell 3.89 percent to $19.79 yesterday, closing below its 200-day moving average for the first time since last November. The contract-drilling company has been trending lower since hitting a 52-week high of $25.48 in mid-March.

The stock dropped sharply after first-quarter results came out in late April. The company is scheduled to release its second-quarter report on July 25.

Total option volume in the name was more than 16 times its daily average for the last month. Almost all of yesterday's activity was in the put sale.
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