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Put spread positions for drop in Venoco

Chris McKhann (chris.mckhann@optionmonster.com)

A put spread tops the option activity in Venoco as the stock slips off the day's highs.

The independent energy company is down 1.11 percent to $9.77 in early afternoon trading. It traded as high as $10.57 earlier in the session on its announcement of stockholder approval to go private. Shares were below $9 last week after coming down from $11, where the stock had been vacillating for most of 2012.

A trader bought 3,000 July 7.50 puts for $0.55 and sold the same number of July 5 puts for $0.05, according to optionMONSTER's Depth Charge system. The open interest at each strike was fewer than 500 at the start of the day, so this is a new position.

The put spread is looking for Venoco to flop back to levels last seen in early 2009. The trader is opening the position for a net $0.50, which will be lost if VQ is above $7.50 at expiration, but can make $2 if the stock is below $5. (See our Education section)

More than 9,300 options have changed hands in the name overall, compared to a daily average of 656 contracts.

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