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Trader bets Newmont Mining will hit 13-year low

One trader is betting big that it will get even worse for the gold miners.

In a big Monday trade on Newmont, one firm bought 12,000 March 18/16 put spreads for 67 cents per share. This trader will lose the full $804,000 laid out unless Newmont shares, which closed Monday at $19.66, are below $17.33 in March. Maximum profits come if Newmont shares fall to $16—a level they haven't seen since April 2001.

Newmont has been punished along with the rest of the gold miners recently, as gold prices have suffered another tough year. The company's shares are down almost 30 percent in the past three months alone. But Monday was one of the few recent positive days for the stock, which makes the timing of this bearish bet intriguing.

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"On a day like today, when you had one of these first really strong up days, I wouldn't expect somebody to go in and look the other way immediately, especially for a stock that's so oversold like Newmont," Dan Nathan of RiskReversal.com said Monday on CNBC's "Fast Money."

An additional question is why the trader would target the $16 level, but not look for short exposure below there. If this trade is a hedge against a long stock position, it is not a highly effective one, as it only offers $1.33 of gains per share on the downside.

Yet Nathan adds that options prices have climbed sharply as the stock has dropped. Consequently, buying a put spread rather than an outright put is a much more affordable move.


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  • Melissa Lee

    Melissa Lee is the host of CNBC's “Fast Money” and “Options Action.”

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