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March 13, 2013  Wed 11:36 AM CT

A three-way trade is targeting specific upside levels in Noble Energy.

A trader bought 3,000 each of the January 120 and 140 calls for $7.03 and $1.73 respectively. At the same time, he or she sold 6,000 January 130 calls for $3.63, according to optionMONSTER's Heat Seeker system. The volume at all three strikes was more than the previous open interest, so this is a new butterfly spread.

The spread cost just $1.50, which is at risk if NBL is below $120 or above $140. The maximum profit comes if it is right at the middle strike, where $8.50 could be made.

This trade is bullish up to that $130 level and gets that exposure in a low-risk, low-cost way. It is a more advanced strategy that some are using to replace stock holdings while looking for more gains in the stock. (See our Education section)

NBL is up 0.15 percent to $113.97. The oil and natural-gas company hit an all-time high of $115.59 in early February.

About 13,000 NBL options have traded so far, 13 times its daily average. Almost all of that action is in today's call butterfly spread.
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