As oral arguments

began before a federal appellate court in the U.S. government's antitrust case against

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, more than a few investors seemed willing to take a shot at some speculative

call

options on the software giant.

As shares of Microsoft rose $2.50 to $59.25, traders said it looked like investors were going for it on the out-of-the-money March 60 calls, while trading in other options expiring in March was mixed.

The heaviest volume in Microsoft options was in the March 60 calls on the

Chicago Board Options Exchange

, where nearly 8,500 contracts traded. The March 60 calls rose 3/4 ($75) to 2 1/4 ($225). Meanwhile, a trader at the

Pacific Exchange

said action in the March 55 calls was mixed among option buyers bullish on the shares and call sellers taking a more neutral stance.

The March 55 calls traded 2,300 times on the P-Coast, up 1 3/4 ($175) to 5 5/8 ($5562.50). On the CBOE, more than 6,200 of the March 55 puts traded, down 15/16 ($93.75) to 1 1/8 ($112.50).

Selling call options is a mildly bearish strategy. Investors sell calls on the hope that the options will expire worthless, or below the strike price. It was unclear whether those selling calls on Microsoft were doing it against a stock position. Investors often sell calls when they own positions in a stock that looks range-bound in the short term. The call sales generate capital through the premium the buyers pay for the option and, for an investor holding the stock, can offset a slip in the stock price and short-term malaise.

Elsewhere, the rumors of a

Texas Instrument

(TXN) - Get Report

preannouncement proved prescient, as the company came out

today and warned of lower-than-expected revenue in the first quarter. Chatter of a shortfall last week dragged on the stock and brought out traders to buy March 35 and 30 puts.

Shares of Texas Instruments were holding steady Monday, up 9 cents to $30.24. The March 30 puts were down 0.05 ($5 per contract) to 2.25 ($225), down a touch from midday trading Friday, while the March 35 puts, gained 0.30 ($30) to 6.20 ($620), up from midday action Friday.

Overall volume in Texas Instruments in March 30 options leaned toward the call side by about 2,000 contracts. The March 30 calls saw the heaviest volume on the CBOE, where 2,800 of the contracts traded. The calls fell 0.60 ($60) to 2.15 ($215).

Not only was he a legendary

Nascar

driver,

Dale Earnhardt

owned a seat on the

American Stock Exchange

and

New York Stock Exchange

, according to the weekly bulletins from each exchange.

Earnhardt, who died Feb. 18 in a crash during the

Daytona 500

, didn't do any trading and owned the seats as an investment, leasing them out to traders.