Morgan Stanley faces bearish spread

optionMONSTER

A large put trade topped yesterday's option activity in Morgan Stanley before its first-quarter report this morning.

optionMONSTER systems show that a trader bought 22,805 October 20 puts for $1.45 and sold the same number of October 15 puts for $0.29. The volume was multiples of the previous open interest in each strike, clearly showing that this is new activity.

This bearish vertical spread cost $1.16 to open, which is the trade's maximum potential loss. The maximum gain of $3.84 would be realized if MS is below $15 at the October expiration. (See our Education section)

MS was down 1.74 percent to close at $21.47 yesterday. It was as low as $20.86 in the morning at a support level going back to mid-January, when shares gapped higher. The stock climbed to a high above $24 in mid-February.

More than 145,000 MS options traded yesterday, compared to a daily average of 31,000.

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