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Bearish position targets Atlas Energy

Mike Yamamoto (mike.yamamoto@optionmonster.com)

Atlas Energy is facing a bearish bet today even as it trades near all-time highs.

Almost all the option volume in ATLS today is in a purchase of 2,000 January 40 puts for $1.70, according to optionMONSTER's Depth Charge system. This is clearly a new position, as open interest in the strike was just 94 contracts before the trade appeared.

These puts, which lock in the price where the shares can be sold, are not to any stock activity identified by our systems today and are probably not hedging an earlier long position because the strike price is so low. Instead, this appears to be an outright bearish bet that ATLS will fall below $40, which would represent a drop of more than 23 percent from today's level. (See our Education section)

ATLS is up fractionally at $52.32 in early afternoon trading. The natural-gas and crude-oil producer hit an all-time intraday high of $52.60 after its first-quarter report on May 8 but has been drifting lower since. The company is scheduled to present at the NAPTP MLP Conference on Wednesday.

Total option volume in the name is more than double its daily average, with puts outnumbering calls by 24 to 1.

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