While XLF and rival financial services ETFs are clearly struggling, data indicate there has been some speculative, bullish buying in XLF call opitions.

“More broadly speaking, speculative players have been initiating long puts relative to calls at a faster-than-usual pace in recent weeks. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the fund’s 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.90 ranks in the 83rd annual percentile,” according to Schaeffer’s.

Investors have pulled $1.94 billion from XLF in the fourth quarter, a total surpassed by just four other ETFs.

For more information on the market sectors, visit our sector ETFs category.