UnitedHealth is lagging the market, and the bears apparently
think that it's getting ready for a selloff.
optionMONSTER's Depth Charge tracking program detected the purchase
of more than 2,200 June 57.50 puts for $4.10. Volume is more than 5
times open interest in the strike.
UNH is off 0.16 percent to $54.93 this afternoon, retreating from a
four-year high around $56 established late last month. That was
also roughly the same level where the stock peaked several times in
2007, which could be leading some chart watchers to believe that it
will now serve as resistance.
The noteworthy thing about today's option activity is that the puts
in the money
. That suggests they're being used as a bearish speculative play
rather than as a
by an investor who owns the stock. (See our
The health-insurance giant has had a strong earnings history and
repeatedly beaten estimates. But the industry tends to be
considered a safe haven, which could make it unattractive as
investor sentiment turns more bullish.
In addition, UNH had benefited from people using medical services
less to save money. Now that employment and consumption patterns
appear strong, however, that tide could now potentially shift
against the company.
Overall option volume is still slightly below average in the name,
but puts outnumber calls by 2 to 1.
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