By Jud Pyle, CFA, chief investment strategist for the Options News Network



) -- Earlier this month, we saw bullishness in

Hartford Financial Services Group

(HIG) - Get Report

in the Aug. 20 calls. Now even more investors are looking for further upside in the stock in a later-dated series.

Looking at the out-of-the-money Dec. 30 calls, more than 11,000 of these options have traded so far Monday. These calls are currently down two cents and are home to current open interest of 2,626 contracts, indicating that most of the volume was bought to open. This computes to an implied volatility of 72.8, according to's Sidewinder report. The Dec. 30 calls had a volume weighted average price (VWAP) of 57 cents, meaning bullish investors buying these options need HIG shares to expire higher than $30.57 to make money.

Normal daily options volume in HIG is approximately 15,000 contracts. More than 27,000 contracts have changed hands with an hour left to go into trading today, the bulk of that volume having accumulated in the Dec. 30 call series.

At the beginning of the month, we saw more than 25,000 Aug. 20 calls trade with more buyers than sellers. Bullish investors who bought these calls, which are set to expire Friday, need HIG shares to expire higher than $20.46 to make money. The stock, which closed at $17.80 a couple weeks ago, participated in the market selloff, closing down 98 cents to $18.49 today.

Heavy call buying such as this does not mean investors should run out and buy HIG shares. It is interesting that at least one investor expects the stock to climb nearly 65% throughout the next few months.

-- Written by Jud Pyle in Chicago

Jud Pyle, CFA, is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network. Pyle started his career in finance in 1994 as a derivative analyst with SBC Warburg. After four years with Warburg, Pyle joined PEAK6 Investments, L.P., in 1998 as an equity options trader and as chief risk officer. A native of Minneapolis, Pyle received his bachelor's degree in economics and history from Colgate University in 1994. As a trader, Pyle traded on average over 5,000 contracts per day, and over 1.2 million contracts per year. He also built the stock group for all PEAK6 Investments, L.P. hedging, which currently trades on average over 5 million shares per day, and over 1 billion shares per year. Further, from 2004-06, he managed the trading and risk management for PEAK6 Investments L.P.'s lead market-maker operation on the former PCX exchange, which traded more than 10,000 contracts per day. Pyle is the "Mad About Options" resident expert. He is also a regular contributor to "Options Physics."