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May 17, 2013  Fri 2:14 AM CT

LUV: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
One investor apparently thinks that it's make-or-break time for Southwest Airlines now that the stock rallied back to a key level.

optionMONSTER's tracking systems detected the purchase of 5,000 June 14 calls for $0.50 and 5,000 June 14 puts for $0.40. Volume was more than triple the previous open interest at each strike, indicating that this is new activity.

The trade cost $0.90 and will make money if the discount airline drops below $13.10 or surges above $14.90 before the options expire five weeks from today. Known as a long straddle, the position will also profit from a general increase in volatility. (See our Education section for more on straddles and strangles.)

LUV fell 1.39 percent to $14.14 yesterday but has rocketed 58 percent in the last six months. The stock has been hovering near its highest level since the market crash of October 2008, which could be leading some chart watchers to believe that shares will either fall sharply or move even more dramatically to the upside if resistance is broken.

The straddle would profit either way. But if LUV doesn't move, the calls and puts will both dwindle in value.

Total option volume was 8 times greater than average in the session.
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Sweet Spot Exceptions

As discussed last week, when using the Stock Replacement Strategy to replace a stock position to trade direction, we want to use an option that has very similar characteristics to the stock. We talked about using the deep in-the-money, 80 to 85 delta option that is similar in the Greeks and has relatively little extrinsic value which tends to work against us in stock directional trading.

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