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GrafTech Bulls Expect a Rally

By David Russell, reporter at OptionMonster

NEW YORK -- GrafTech International (GTI) doesn't usually trade a lot of options, but Monday it drew unusually heavy bullish activity.

A trader snapped up a block of 3,000 November 10 calls for 35 cents and 40 cents, according to OptionMonster's real-time tracking systems. There was no previous open interest in the strike, clearly indicating that this is a new position. About 300 more contracts were purchased in subsequent transactions.

Those calls lock in the purchase price of shares in the company, whose graphite products are used in an array of industrial applications. The options can generate some nice leverage in the event of a rally, allowing the trader to profit for much less cost than buying the stock directly. But if the shares don't climb, those calls will expire worthless.

The stock fell 0.32% to $9.29 Monday and has been drifting lower since early 2011, when the stock double-topped around $23. It's been attempting to rebound since the summer, especially after earnings and revenue beat expectations in July.

While the date of the next quarterly report hasn't been announced, last year's calendar indicates that results will probably be released in late October. Monday's call buyer probably expects the stock to climb into that news on hopes of another strong report.

GrafTech trades an average of only 71 total options per session, but Monday's activity was 59 times that amount. Calls accounted for 99% of the volume.

Russell has no positions in GTI.

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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