The following post is a Guest Blog by CNBC Contributor Brian Stutland.
On Wednesday, Apple shares slid $37—6.4 percent—on heavy volume, to bring it within striking distance of last month's lows.
The last time the stock was at these levels, it traded still lower and then quickly rebounded. But one option trader is betting that AAPL falls through $500 this time. (Read More: Apple May Fall Another 20% on 'Panic Selling': Analyst.)
In one big trade, this trader bought 939 July 500-strike puts for $34.35 each. The trader did this with Apple shares at $559, and this trade will profit if AAPL is below $465.65 at July expiration.
Technically, AAPL had looked like it needed to fill the gap it created on November 19th, when it gapped up after a major reversal the day before. The low of the gap was $530, so this gap was filled this morning, and AAPL has since rallied well off its lows.
There has been recent pressure on the stock due to three major catalyst: end-of-year index rebalancing, people realizing their capital gains, and rising margins at clearing firms. These are all near-term pressures on the stock that will abate soon.
This trader is looking out to a longer time horizon, over which the primary pressures on the stock are likely to be poor earnings growth and the fiscal cliff's effect on the market.
However, with the stock trading at four times book value, three times sales, and 12 times earnings, I would not want to be betting on another big move lower.
For investors with large stock positions, it does makes sense to buy puts in order to contain further losses. However, my opinion is that at this point, the stock is more likely to head higher than lower.
Brian Stutland is Managing Member of Stutland Equities and a contributor to CNBC's "Options Action."
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