Traders made some fast money yesterday in coal miner Cliffs Natural Resources.
optionMONSTER's tracking programs detected unusual volume in the weekly 21 calls, which have a very short time frame because they expire this Friday. The stock didn't delay long to start moving!
CLF was little changed when the big trades hit, and started powering higher in a matter of minutes. It ended the session up 4.34 percent to $21.66, but on a percentage basis, that gain was chump change compared with the options.
Some priced for as little as $0.26 early in the session, but the largest block was bought for $0.39. They more than doubled to over $0.95 by the final hour, which shows the kind of leverage that can be achieved with options. Some 10,600 traded against previous open interest of just 2,149 contracts.
Calls lock in the price where investors can buy shares. They can make huge moves in short times because they're so cheap, but they also can become worthless if the stock fails to rally.
CLF has been holding support at its lowest levels since mid-2009, which could make some chart watchers expect a bounce.
Total option volume was more than twice the daily average in yesterday's session. Calls outnumbered puts by almost 4 to 1.
(A version of this post appeared on InsideOptions Pro on Friday.)