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By Chris McKhann

[Excerpt: The option activity may well be tied to long shares and actually bullish for the bank or at least neutral on the stock's direction. ]

NYB Chart

Shares of New York Community Bancorp (NYB) are climbing to new highs, but the options volume is in the puts.

NYB is up another 1.3 percent today to $15.61, adding to gains that had shares posting a new 52-week closing high yesterday after being down near $10 in early November. Today's action follows an upgrade by Citigroup.

More than 4,000 March 14 puts changed hands for $0.15 across several exchanges, with the biggest blocks--up to 709--all bought. The open interest had been 593 contracts, so there were new opening positions.

This put buying might be seen as bearish positioning, but with NYB shares very active and tearing higher, the options are likely to be protection on long shares and actually bullish or at least neutral on direction.

(Chart courtesy of tradeMONSTER)

Source: Why the Puts in NY Community Bancorp