Airlines have had a banner year, and one big bet in the options pits suggest that one stock in the group is about to take off.
The airliner saw six times its average daily call volume on Thursday, with one trader rolling over a bullish bet and buying 22,000 of the Feb. 23-strike calls for 92 cents. With JetBlue trading at around $21, the buyer is betting that JetBlue could rally to $24 by February expiration.
In other words, the trader is making a $2 million bet that JetBlue could rally another 10 percent or more in 50 days. According to Mike Khouw of Optimize Advisors, the rally could very well happen, especially if oil prices stay low. But if oil prices were to rise, buying calls rather than owning the stock could account for a spike in oil.
"Oil prices may rise, that's the single biggest operating expense for an airline," said Khouw Thursday on CNBC's "Fast Money." "So if you're going to press a bullish bet, maybe spending 4 percent of the stock price to make that bullish bet from here makes a lot of sense."
While JetBlue is down from the start of the year, the airline has rallied almost 40 percent since its post-Brexit lows in June.