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Bulls Shopping at Ascena Retail

By Pete Najarian, co-founder of OptionMonster.

NEW YORK -- Traders are shopping for a rally in Ascena Retail Group (ASNA).

OptionMonster's tracking systems lit up with buying Monday in the September 21 calls for 60 cents and selling in the September 24 calls for 20 cents. About 6,600 contracts traded in each strike.

Buying calls locks in the purchase price of the stock while selling calls fixes a sale price, so the trader basically owns the $3 spread between $21 and $24. The options can provide some big leverage if the shares are within that price range at expiration because the trader paid only a net 40 cents to open the bullish call spread.

Ascena's stock fell last week after earnings missed consensus expectations, and it lost another 2.24% Monday to close at $17.93. That quarterly shortfall, however, was largely the result of costs from the company's previously announced acquisition of Charming Shoppes.

The specialty retailer -- which operates stores under the Dressbarn, Maurices, and Justice brands -- also reported an increase in net sales at new stores, strength in locations open for more than a year, and growing e-commerce revenue. Its valuation and balance sheet look reasonable as well.

More than 19,000 options traded in the name Monday, compared with about 2,500 in an average session. Calls outpaced puts by 3 to 1.

Najarian has no positions in ASNA.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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