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Heavy Trading In JCP Options As Stock Hits Lowest Since Dec. 2000

JCP – J.C. Penney Co., Inc. – Options volume on retailer J.C. Penney is above 200,000 contracts at 12:45 p.m. in New York trading, which is more than three times the stock’s average daily options volume of around 61,000 contracts, as shares in the name move sharply to the downside. Shares in JCP fell as much as 16.5% during morning trading to $9.93, the lowest level since December of 2000.

Fresh interest in short-dated options suggests some traders are bracing for the price of the underlying to extend losses this week. Early-bird buyers of weekly puts are in some cases seeing sizable intraday gains in the value of their positions. Buyers of the Sep 27 ’13 $10 strike puts in the early going snapped up around 1,000 contracts for an average premium of $0.11 each. These put options are now worth more than twice as much, with the last-traded price on the $10 strike puts at $0.30 as of 12:45 p.m. ET. More than 6,700 of the Sep 27 ’13 $10 strike puts have changed hands so far today versus open interest of just 287 contracts.

The November expiry put options are the most heavily traded as measured by volume, perhaps as traders look ahead to the company’s third-quarter earnings report. The stock is off session lows, down 13% at $10.34. Options traders are exchanging calls and puts on JCP in roughly equal numbers, with the call/put ratio hovering just above 1.0. 

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