Bearish Traders Target QQQ ETF

The PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ), which tracks the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 Index, is mostly flat over the past week, faltered last week and resides about 8.7% below its 52-week high as some bearish options trader target the popular exchange traded fund.

Stocks such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google parent Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) are pivotal to QQQ’s performance. That quartet combines for over 35% of QQQ’s roster.

Bearish traders can prepare for a possible decline in the Nasdaq-100 with the ProShares UltraShort QQQ (NYSEARCA: QID). QID attempts to provide double the daily inverse returns of the Nasdaq-100 Index.

On Feb. 8th, “roughly 696,000 puts and 312,000 calls have traded on QQQ so far today — 1.8 times what’s typically seen at this point, and total options volume pacing in the 95th annual percentile. Most notable is what appears to be a split-strike put butterfly spread in the back-month series,” reports Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

However, with technology’s ascent and that of QQQ, come concerns that the Nasdaq-100 is too heavily exposed to a small number of stocks. Additionally, some analysts opine that the benchmark’s significant technology overweight leaves it vulnerable should tech stocks fall out of favor. Due to tech’s ascent this year, QQQ’s exposure to the sector has increased while its consumer discretionary weight has been mostly steady.