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Trader backs up the truck on Ford

Options Action: The bullish bet on Ford

Ford shares have been in overdrive this week, with a 5 percent gain since Monday. And one trader is betting the stock could continue to surge through the beginning of next year.

In an eyebrow-raising trade Thursday, someone purchased 10,000 of the February 15-strike calls for 51 cents each. Since each options contract accounts for 100 shares of stock, this is a $510,000 bet that shares of the automaker will rise above $15.51 by February expiration. That's a more than 6 percent rally from the current stock price of around $14.60.

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"Ford has been a huge underperformer to rival General Motors this year," Dan Nathan said Thursday on CNBC's "Fast Money." Ford is down more than 6 percent year to date while GM is up 3 percent.

Looking at a one-year chart of Ford, Nathan noted that the stock has recently tested and failed resistance at $16 a share. "This trader is looking to make a defined risk bet over the next few months that the stock breaks above that level," said the founder of RiskReversal.com, who's also a CNBC contributor. "This is one way to make a levered bet to the upside."

Wall Street tends to agree that it may be time to back up the truck on Ford. According to FactSet, of the 21 analysts who cover the stock, the average price target is $17.76 with an "overweight" rating.