Options Trading News

February 7, 2013  Thu 12:24 PM CT

The bulls apparently think that Marathon Petroleum is a long-distance runner.

A large block of 20,000 January 2014 90 calls was bought for $3.90 today, optionMONSTER's Heat Seeker system shows. The volume was nearly double the strike's open interest of 10,265 contracts before the session began, so this is clearly a new purchase.

These long calls, which lock in the purchase price for the stock, are betting that MPC will climb above $93.90 in the next 11 months. If shares are below the $90 strike price by then, however, the options will expire wortheless. (See our Education section)

MPC is up 0.76 percent to $78.39 at all-time highs this afternoon despite the broader market's selloff. Shares of the Ohio-based oil refiner have more than doubled since hitting 52-week lows last June, gapping higher with strong fourth-quarter results in late January. The company is scheduled to present at four industry conferences in March.

The oil-refining industry as a whole has been soaring with the rest of the energy sector, up about 44 percent in the last three months, according to researchLAB.

Total option volume in the name is triple its daily average so far today, with the January call buying responsible for 75 percent of the activity. Overall calls at all strikes are outpacing puts by more than 13 to 1, a reflection of the session's bullish sentiment.
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