Markets

Bears on the prowl in chip space

Semiconductors have been weak, and the bears are active.

optionMONSTER's Depth Charge monitoring program shows heavy put volume across the industry, with traders bracing against potential drops this summer.

SanDisk's July 55 puts hit first for $0.59 to $0.62, followed by Maxim's August 35 puts for $2.10 to $2.15. The SNDK contracts traded 1,500 times, and MXIM had turnover of 6,000.

Puts lock in the price where stocks can be sold, so they appreciate when a drop occurs. Investors use them to hedge long positions or to speculate on a drop. (See our Education section)

SNDK slid 1.25 percent to $57.49 in afternoon trading, its worst levels since September 2013. The maker of memory chips is a poster-child of problems in the broader group as weak PC volumes weigh on business. MXIM, which gapped lower on weak revenue in April, declined 0.33 percent to $34.46.

Other names also saw downside trades. More than 4,500 Texas Instrument Weekly 52.50 puts expiring on July 31 were bought for $2.08, and Microchip Technology had 4,000 August 48 puts bought for $2.90. TXN fell 0.91 percent to $51.98 and MCHP dropped 2.08 percent to $46.44.

Volume was above average in all four companies, according to Depth Charged. Puts dominated activity across the board.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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