By David Russell
Options action turned bearish on Crown Castle International (NYSE:CCI) on Friday, preceding a late-day dumping of the stock.
Volume in the January 20 puts surged to 7,550 against open interest of 1,056 contracts, according to optionMONSTER's Depth Charge monitoring system. A single purchase priced at $1.80 accounted for more than 99 percent of the activity in the strike.
The put buying on CCI occurred less than 50 minutes into the session. Trading turned negative on the stock in the final half-hour of trading, when it fell 3.4 percent on heavy volume and bucked a 1 percent rally in the S&P 500. The late-day selling contrasted with strength in rivals such as American Tower and SBA Communications, whose shares have lagged CCI over the last three months.
CCI ended the session down 0.94 percent to close at $24.26. The only potential catalyst on the cell-phone tower company's calendar is an appearance at the Macquarie Global Infrastructure conference scheduled for 11:15 a.m. ET Thursday.
Overall put volume in CCI was more than 17 times average on Friday and exceeded calls by 47 to 1, reflecting the bearish sentiment.
(Chart courtesy of tradeMONSTER)