By Chris McKhann
Shares of Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) have pushed higher by roughly 20 percent over the last two weeks, but it is the put buying that catches our attention today.
AEM trades at $59.62 this morning, up 2.56 percent on the day but down from the open. Shares of the Canadian miner were below $50 as recently as Feb. 5. Even with this run higher, however, the stock has seen three lower highs since the 52-week high of $74 set in October.
This morning we see action out in the August 40 puts, with almost 2,400 contracts traded against open interest of 333. All but 10 of those were bought in the same second across several exchanges for $1.33.
This type of put buying is unlikely to be an outright bearish bet, so it is probably either protective positioning or a neutral trade against long stock. We do see 50,000 shares of AEM trade in the same minute as the options, which would lead me to believe this is a neutral trade that is betting on increased volatility and not market direction.
(Chart courtesy of tradeMONSTER)