Bears return to emerging-market ETF

optionMONSTER

Traders remain bearish toward emerging markets in a big way.

optionMONSTER's Depth Charge scanners detected a large put roll last week in the iShares Emerging Markets Index Fund as a downside position was rolled from June to July. The bears came back right out of the gate yesterday, targeting the September 38 puts for $1.20.

The volume exceeded 56,000 contracts, more than 4 times the strike's previous open interest, which shows that new positions being established. Later in the morning, traders also snapped up the September 35 putsfor $0.56 in huge size.

Puts lock in the price where a stock can be sold, which gives them an inverse relationship to the share price. Investors often use them to hedge long positions but also to speculate to the downside, so that kind of activity is definitely bearish. (See our Education section)

The EEM fell 1.35 percent to $40.14 yesterday and is down almost 10 percent since the start of the year. More than 438,000 options traded in the fund in twice its daily average, and the skew was heavily bearish with fewer than 90,000 calls trading.

Disclosure: I own EEM puts.

(A version of this post appeared on InsideOptions Pro yesterday.)

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