The Energy Select Sector SPDR energy exchange traded fund has tumbled to a new 52-week low and is drawing huge options activity today.
The XLE ETF is down more than 6 percent on the day to $38.48 after trading around $70 as recently as September. Normal put activity in this volatile crude oil and natural gas ETF was 37,000 contracts in the month of February, but this morning more than 51,000 contracts changed hands in the first 90 minutes of trading alone, according to OptionMonster's tracking systems.
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That's 140 percent of normal activity in such a short period of time and indicates there is significant fear that the cost of energy will remain under strong pressure at least through this month, as the put activity is very heavy in March options. Fear of a meltdown in energy has nearly 17,000 puts trading at the March 37 strike (JSKOK).
More Key Energy ETFs/ETNs:
United States Oil Fund
iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN
Ultra DJ-AIG Crude Oil ProShares
United States Gasoline
Jon 'DRJ' Najarian is a professional investor, CNBC contributor, and cofounder of OptionMonster.com.