Options: Bulls in SunTrust Banks - TheStreet

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

Shares of

SunTrust Banks

(STI) - Get Report

have rallied about 100% since reaching a 52-week low on Feb. 19 (the stock sank to $6.70), and at least one investor made a bullish bet on a continued rally in this name.

Looking at the July 19 calls, an investor bought these contracts more than 5,200 times at 35 cents per contract during the first 15 minutes of trading today when the stock was up 45 cents to $14.25. Current open interest of these calls is 7,000.

This investor is betting that STI shares will expire higher than $19.35 come July expiration. The stock is currently up $1.36, that's almost 10%, to $15.16. The break-even point of these calls shows how far this investor is betting the stock might rise.

The rally in STI shares today could be a result of analyst upgrades on the Atlanta-based bank. A Morgan Keegan analyst upgraded STI to "outperform" from "market perform" because he said dilution concerns have passed. The analyst said this is an attractive entry point. In addition, STI announced plans Monday to expedite TARP repayments and capital-raising. The government told STI to raise $2.2 billion of equity capital after the stress tests.

Bullish call-buying such as this does not automatically mean the shares will charge higher. It is noteworthy that some investors are bullish on a quick rally in these shares before July expiration.

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Jud Pyle is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network (www.ONN.tv) and the portfolio manager of TheStreet.com Options Alerts. Click here for a free trial for Options Alerts. Mr. Pyle writes regularly about options investing for TheStreet.com.

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."