Marathon Oil seen holding recent gains

optionMONSTER

Marathon Oil has rebounded sharply with strength throughout the energy sector, and traders are betting that the stock will hold its gains.

optionMONSTER's systems detected the sale of more than 12,000 October 29 puts, including a single print of 11,054 for $0.29. This is clearly new positioning because open interest in the strike was just 2,446 at the start of the session.

MRO is up 0.36 percent to $30.45 this morning as shares of the oil and natural-gas drilling company consolidate in an increasingly tight range. After falling from its 52-week high of $35.49 reached in late February, the stock bottomed near $23 in mid-June and has stair-stepped higher since then.

The put sellers apparently believe that MRO will be above the $29 strike price by expiration in less than a month. The traders face the requirement to buy shares if they are below that level for an effective price of about $28.71.

The company met second-quarter earnings estimates and beat revenue projections on Aug. 1 . Two weeks later traders bought calls at the same October 29 strike that drew today's put selling, a further sign of support for the company. (See our Education section)

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