Financial Index Attracts Nervous Trade

Traders are getting nervous about financials as the market continues to struggle.

optionMONSTER’s Depth Charge monitoring system detected the purchase of 50,000 December 15 puts in the Select Sector Financial SPDR exchange-traded fund for $0.41. An equal number of December 13 puts was sold at the same time for $0.10, lowering the cost of the trade to $0.31.

The position will generate more than 540 percent in profits if the XLF closes at or below $13 on expiration. (See our Education section for more on the strategy, which is known as a vertical spread because it leverages a move between two prices.)

The XLF is down 0.47 percent to $15.52 today and has been retreating from a 52-week high of $16.44 earlier in the month. The fund holds stakes in companies including Wells Fargo, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan. It’s often used as a hedging tool by investors with broad sector exposure and is one of the most heavily traded underliers in the market.

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