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New York — An anonymous trader caused a stir in the US equity options market on Monday with a massive bet that recalled Warren Buffett’s famous wager on global stocks more than a decade ago.
The trader sold 19,000 put options on the S&P 500 Index obligating him or her to buy the market benchmark at 2,100 on December 18 2020, data from New York-based options analytics firm Trade alert showed.
As long as the index doesn’t drop more than 22% from its current level of 2,582 by that date, the bet will earn the trader roughly $175m in premiums.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold billions of dollars in stock index options between 2004 and 2008, betting that markets would rise over the next 15 to 20 years. Although the trades were made anonymously, they were eventually disclosed in regulatory filings.
Berkshire has taken in more than $4bn in premiums on the options. The holding company has other contracts that have not expired, including a final tranche that will settle in 2026.
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