Ominous Options Activity in Brazil ETF


As if the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped Index Fund (NYSE:EWZ) did not have enough problems to contend. The largest ETF tracking Latin America's largest economy is already under siege for a plethora of fundamental reasons. A dangerous and ongoing flirtation with the $50 area does not bode well for the $6.3 billion ETF's technicals, either.

Some options traders are smelling blood in the water with EWZ. Earlier today, a trader purchased 5,000 January 2014 $47 puts in EWZ on the offer for $2.37 per contract, according to Option Monster.

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That was accompanied by the purchase of 5,000 January 2015 47 puts for $4.92 per contract. Open interest in that strike was less 190 contracts prior to that sale, according to Option Monster. It would appear the longer-dated puts that were sold were used to finance the purchase of the January 2014 $47 puts.

Volume in EWZ's June 51 calls was also well above open interest today. Approximately 4,000 puts have trade today across all June and July strikes, according to Option Monster data.

Hampered by the global commodities slowdown, rising inflation and slack economic growth, EWZ has plunged more than 10 percent in the past year. That performance is noticeably worse than that of the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (NYSE:EEM) and the iShares MSCI Mexico Capped Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE:EWW).

EWZ has found support at $50 multiple times over the past two years, but buyers could be tired of defending that area. If that is the case and support there does not hold on the next retest, EWZ could test price levels not seen since the second quarter of 2009.

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