The iShares Russell 2000 Index exchange-traded fund is down more than 2 percent on the day Friday, but calls active in the session suggest traders think the small-cap index could go substantially percent higher in the near term.
By the afternoon, the IWM ETF was at 43.30, having traded down to 42.98, slightly below where it opened yesterday.
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But options action was heavy in the May 52 calls, where 9,500 traded at the same time across multiple exchanges, for $0.40. These calls are another 20 percent out of the money, and OptionMonster's systems indicate that they were bought.
The purchase easily outstrips open interest, or established positions, of 3,839, so the trading indicates the opening of bullish positions.
The index remains up more than 25 percent from the March 9 low of 34.26. The ETF was as high as 75 before the drop in September.
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Chris McKhann is an analyst and writer for OptionMonster.