By Mike Yamamoto, managing editor of OptionMonster
NEW YORK -- Dole (DOLE) has been falling all month, but traders are betting on a comeback ahead of the company's earnings report.
More than 6,000 November 12.50 calls were bought Thursday, including a print of 4,550 that went for $0.60 as shares climbed, according to OptionMonster's real-time tracking systems. The volume dwarfed open interest of just 350 contracts in the strike at the beginning of the day, clearly indicating new positions.
Dole rose 0.25% Thursday to $12.21, its first positive close this month. Shares of the fruit and vegetable distributor spiked above $14 on Sept. 12 with news that it was in talks to sell two business units, a deal that was announced a few days later. But the stock meandered sideways after that, falling sharply in October along with bearish option activity.Thursday's call-buyers are looking for the stock to gain more than 7% by expiration on Nov. 16, the day many analysts are expecting the company to report third-quarter earnings. The premiums on those options could rise in the event of a rally before then, allowing traders to sell the calls at a profit earlier. If the stock is below the $12.50 strike price at expiration, however, those contracts will expire worthless. The trades pushed total option volume in Dole to more than double its daily average. Overall calls outnumbered puts by 8 to 1, reflecting the session's bullish bias. Yamamoto has no positions in DOLE.