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Will Sony Become the Next RIM?

By David Russell, reporter at OptionMonster

NEW YORK -- Several large consumer-technology stocks have bounced recently after long selloffs, and one trader is betting that Sony (SNE) is joining the crowd.

OptionMonster's tracking programs detected the purchase of more than 5,000 January 11 calls for 15 cents on Wednesday. Most of the activity took place in about five minutes, suggesting that it was the work of a single investor.

The calls lock in the price where shares can be bought in the once-mighty Japanese electronics firm. These options were particularly inexpensive and have the ability to provide huge leverage in the event of a rally, but they will expire worthless if the stock doesn't move by mid-January.

Sony rose 3.44% to $10.23 Wednesday. The stock has been trending lower for the last five years and has lost more than half its value since mid-March. That selloff has brought the stock back to its lowest levels since 1987, and Wednesday's call buyer apparently thinks that it's ready to rebound.

Other big tech stocks recently have made similar moves. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL) have handed traders gains of 300% in recent weeks, while Research In Motion (RIMM) has generated even bigger profits. All three of those stocks had fallen to long-term lows before they pushed higher.

Sony also trades for about half of book value and has little net debt, which could make some investors think that it's now a safe bet.

Total option volume in Sony was more than triple its daily average, with calls outnumbering puts by a bullish 24 to 1.

Russell has no positions in SNE.
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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