Guess Where the Bears Are Staying This Winter


Bears are extending their stay in hotel stocks as the industry’s top player breaks lower.

Marriott International (MAR) is down 5.7 percent today, its biggest decline in more than two years, after cutting its guidance. The largest options trade looked for more bearish momentum to continue in coming months:

  • A block of 6,000 April 110 puts was sold for $6.65.
  • An equal number of April 100 puts was bought for $3.50.
  • Volume was below open interest at the higher strike — an indication that an existing downside position was closed and rolled lower.

Puts fix the price where a stock can be sold, so they make money to the downside. (See our Knowledge Center.) Today’s trader probably made money on the 110s and adjusted to the lower strike. In the process, he or she recovered half of the capital at risk and remained exposed to further downside.

Marriott (MAR) chart with 50-day moving average and historic changes.

MAR’s bad news resulted from “weaker than expected transient demand,” according to its quarterly report. Business has also been squeezed by increased room capacity, especially after the company bought Starwood Hotels.

Rival Hilton (HLT) issued a similarly weak outlook last month.

Disclosure: This post is for educational purposes only. Options trading may not be suitable for all investors.

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David Russell is VP of Market Intelligence at TradeStation Group. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience as a financial journalist and analyst, his background includes equities, emerging markets, fixed-income and derivatives. He previously worked at Bloomberg News, CNBC and E*TRADE Financial. Russell systematically reviews countless global financial headlines and indicators in search of broad tradable trends that present opportunities repeatedly over time. Customers can expect him to keep them appraised of sector leadership, relative strength and the big stories – especially those overlooked by other commentators. He’s also a big fan of generating leverage with options to limit capital at risk.