CNBC Stock Blog

Option Bulls Target Morgan Stanley Before Earnings


The bulls were active in Morgan Stanley yesterday ahead of its earnings report this morning.

The January 17.50 calls dominated option trading in the investment bank, with more than 22,000 going for $0.29 to $0.40, according to OptionMonster's tracking systems. The action was definitely positive overall, though a little hard to read because the volume was below open interest in the strike.

The February 19s painted a clearer picture because more than 8,000 contracts traded against previous positioning of just 2,859. Those calls were priced mostly at $0.30 and $0.32.

Long calls lock in the price that traders must pay to buy shares, so they can provide substantial leverages if the stock rises. But timing is crucial because the options will expire worthless if they don't rally quickly enough.

Morgan Stanley shares surged 6.77 percent to $17.35 yesterday and has been climbing with the financial sector this year. It was the one of the strongest in the group yesterday, slightly behind Goldman Sachs.

Overall the activity was pretty extreme, with 98,000 contracts trading against the average of about 24,000.

—Najarian owns MS calls.

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Pete Najarian is a professional investor, CNBC contributor, regular co-host of CNBC's "Fast Money" and co-founder of .