Mystery trader bets market will crash by a third

An anonymous investor has placed a bet on an index of Europe’s top 50 stocks falling by a third by the end of September, as world equity markets plunged for a third day and volatility hit a three-year high.

The mystery investor has bought put option contracts on the DJ Eurostoxx 50 index that will result in a profit if it plunges to 2,800 or below by the end of September. Based on the 2,800 strike price, the position covers a notional €6.9bn, and potentially even more using a market price of about 4,100 when the trades were done on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The identity of the investor is unknown but market sources speculated it was either a large hedge fund hedging itself against deepening losses, or a long-only fund manager pressing the panic button to protect its gains.

The investor has bought a total of 245,000 put options on the index. The September put option with a 2,800 strike was the most popular DJ Eurostoxx 50 contract yesterday, according to data from Bloomberg.

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