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What's behind First Niagara put surge

Mike Yamamoto (mike.yamamoto@optionmonster.com)

First Niagara Financial ended last week at its highest level in nearly two years, and traders may be looking to lock in profits.

optionMONSTER's Depth Charge program detected the purchase of 2,517 August 10 puts for $0.30 on Friday. This was new positioning, as there was no open interest in the strike before the trade appeared.

The puts, which lock in the price where traders can sell shares, were not tied to any stock trading identified by our scanners on Friday. But give First Niagara performance, they could well have been bought to protect gains from long positions established earlier. (See our Education section)

FNFG was up 2.16 percent on Friday to finish at the session high of $10.41, its highest close since September 2011. The Buffalo, N.Y.-based lender has been rising along with other regional banks, which analysts believe will benefit from increasing interest rates. optionMONSTER systems found bullish option activity in KeyCorp , First Horizon , and Huntington Bancshares on Friday.

Friday's put buying made up almost all the option volume in FNFG, which was more than 35 times its daily average for the last month. Only 41 calls traded in the session, a further indication of the bearish sentiment.

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