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November 14, 2012  Wed 9:58 AM CT

EXH: SEE CHART GET CHAIN FIND STRATEGIES
One investor is using an unusual strategy to get long Exterran Holdings, a natural-gas services stock that's been trending higher all year.

optionMONSTER's Heat Seeker monitoring program detected the purchase of about 1,500 February 20 calls for approximately $2 and the sale of an equal number of May 20 puts for roughly $2.10. That translates into a net credit of about $0.10.

The resulting position is now similar to owning shares in the company and will significantly leverage moves in the stock price. If EXH climbs, the long calls will appreciate and the puts sold short will lose value, while the opposite will happen to the downside.

The unusual thing about the strategy is that the investor used different expiration months. That let him or her collect more money selling the longer-dated puts, thereby collecting a credit. (See our Education section for more on how options can be used to turn time into money.)

EXH is down 0.1 percent to $20.29 in morning trading and has more than doubled since the beginning of 2012. Total option volume is 17 times greater than average so far today.
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