Bearish bet targets key Carnival level

optionMONSTER

Carnival is back to a potential resistance level, and option activity is turning bearish on the cruise-ship operator.

Our Depth Charge trade scanner detected the purchase of 2,500 April 38.50 puts for $1.40 and the sale of an equal number of April 34.50 puts for $0.30. Volume was more than 11 times open interest at both strikes, indicating that new positions were initiated.

Known as a bearish put spread , the transaction cost $1.10 and will leverage a decline in the stock. The gains will begin at $37.40, reaching a maximum of 263 percent at or below $34.50 on expiration. (See our Education section)

CCL is off 0.15 percent to $38.92 this afternoon and has been moving sideways for the last five months. It's been stuck at roughly the same level where it gapped lower in May 2011, which could be leading some chart watchers to believe that resistance is in place.

Total option volume in the name is already triple its daily average so far today, according to the Depth Charge. Puts outnumber calls by a bearish 36-to-1 ratio.

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