It's less than 2 weeks until options expiration, and we're seeing some unusual activity brewing in the put pits for Starwood Hotels & Resorts . Specifically, more than 14,000 puts have traded on the November 70 put strike (HOT WN), which was previously home to just 3,471 open contracts. In fact, there is no strike in the November put series that is home to more than 7,000 contracts.
The volume took the form of 2 blocks of 7,002 contracts, trading at 2:08 this afternoon. Both blocks went off near the ask price, at $16.80 per contract. Each block was therefore worth nearly $12 million. The lofty price is due to the fact that these 70-strike puts are in the money by nearly $17, with little time value figured into the option price.
There isn't any news on HOT today to account for such odd behavior in the options pits. The stock has been in decline mode since late July after a nice uptrend took the shares to a new all-time high this past summer. HOT is now trading south of its 10-month and 20-month moving averages and is a hair's breadth away from a new 14-month low.