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Option Bulls Are Banking With Astoria Financial

David Russell|Writer, OptionMonster
Monday, 30 Jul 2012 | 5:55 AM ET

Astoria Financial

isn’t a name we see often, but option activity lit up on Friday.

OptionMonster’s tracking systems showed unusual action in the September 10 calls, with about 3,000 trading against previous open interest of 375 contracts. The first blocks priced for just $0.10, but premiums shot up to $0.25 as buyers jumped in.

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Callslock in the price investors must pay for the shares, so they can generate some nice leverage in the event of a rally. If the stock doesn’t move, however, those same calls will expire worthless.

Astoria Financial shares rose 3.28 percent to $9.46 on Friday. The small-capitalization regional bank fell hard earlier in the month after a lackluster earnings report and a downgrade by Stifel Nicolaus. But it trades for less than book value, which could be leading some investors to believe that it’s too cheap.

Overall option volume was 80 times greater than average in the session. Not a single puttraded all session, so the bulls were definitely in control.

—By CNBC Contributor David Russell

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David Russellis a reporter and writer for OptionMonster . Russell has no positions in Astoria Financial.

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