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January 29, 2013  Tue 6:19 AM CT

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The bulls were banking on Regions Financial yesterday with the stock near its 52-week highs.

optionMONSTER's Depth Charge system showed early buying in the March 8 calls for $0.12 and $0.13. More than 6,650 contracts traded in the session, nearly twice the previous open interest of 3,583 at the strike. That indicates that new money was put to work on the long side.

Those traders now have the right to buy RF shares for $8 in the next two months, no matter how high they may go. That will result in some nice leverage in the event of a continued rally, but the calls will expire worthless if the stock doesn't move.

RF rose 0.26 percent to $7.71 yesterday. Strong earnings have helped regional banks outperform their larger counterparts in recent weeks, with loan growth and refinancing as major drivers.

Almost 10,000 contracts traded in the session, compared with 3,700 in a normal session. Calls outpaced puts by more than 10 to 1, so the tone was definitely bullish.

(A version of this post appeared on InsideOptions Pro yesterday.)
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