When lightly traded ETF options trade, particularly in global/thematic names, we always pay attention.

Yesterday we saw interesting put activity in TUR (iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market, Expense Ratio 0.60%) which is a somewhat popular fund that averages nearly 500,000 shares traded daily and having
amassed about $539 million in assets under management.

The March 40 puts traded in good size (25,000 contracts), and even though these contracts are out of the money (TUR is trading with a $43 handle this morning), this kind of activity on a jump in volume in the underlying ETF is something to keep an eye on.

TUR traded as low as $40.03 on an intraday basis at the beginning of this month, so 40 strike options with roughly a month until expiration are not terribly unrealistic given global equity market volatility that we have
witnessed throughout much of February.

TUR remains the only ETF play single-handedly dedicated to exposure to the Turkish equity market, and it is nice to see institutional sized options activity in the name as well. The fund debuted back in 2008 and has 96 individual equity holdings, with the top two names making up about 18% of the overall portfolio.

Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS and Akbank TAS make up 10.34% and 7.79% TUR’s underlying index respectively. Other top holdings are Turkcell Illetisim HIzmetleri AS, Bim Birlesik Magazalar A.S., and Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S.