From the Market Ticker blog (with a hat tip to the Implode-o-Meter), some pretty incredible news:
In individual issue news items, Countrywide (CFC) traded over 13,000 $30 PUT contracts for July today. That contract has no bid, which means they were bought. That's an absolute lottery ticket but if it pays off...... you have to wonder - does someone know something? That's so crazily out of the money and expiring next Friday - there's no way that's rational unless someone is very sure that the company is going straight in the crapper within a week! The stock is trading near $36 right now! That is almost certainly an institutional bet as the per-contract cost for a retail investor would be positively prohibitive. For "why would someone do this", you could look at AHM today. Down almost $2, or more than 11%, on the news leak about layoffs. Subprime contagion, given that AHM is nearly all ALT-A? Hmmmmmm..... (In all fairness, it may simply be cheap insurance against a disaster. $64,000 worth of cheap insurance that the buyer completely expects to lose. But still.... unless you're concerned that there might be a disaster, why would you flush $64,000 - that expire before earnings?)
Countrywide is scheduled to report earnings on July 24. The July puts expire on the 20th.