Options traders over the last few days have been placing bullish wagers on


(QCOM) - Get QUALCOMM Incorporated Report

, ahead of the company's earnings, slated for release after the close today.

Ali Saadat of


, the lead market maker for Qualcomm options at the

Pacific Exchange

, said trading in the last couple days on Qualcomm has been bullish. The 17-analyst

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus estimate calls for Qualcomm to earn 28 cents a share in its fiscal first quarter.

Shares of wireless giant Qualcomm slipped 38 cents to $73.88 by midday Thursday.

Saadat said there were some small buyers today of the February 80 and February 85 calls. However, during the last few sessions there have been substantial buyers of the March 100 calls and the February 75 calls.

In today's trading, only a handful of the March 100 calls have changed hands. The March 100 calls rose 1/16 ($6.25) to 1 3/4 ($175) on the

Chicago Board Options Exchange

. As for the February 75 calls, they fell 1/4 ($25) to 5 5/8 ($562.50) on the P-Coast.

A call option is the type of option that gives the purchaser the right but not the obligation to buy a security for a specified price at a certain time and is basically a bet that the stock will go up.

Prices for options on Qualcomm have declined noticeably lately, which is unusual, considering that prices for options usually increase before a company reports earnings.

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Options prices rise ahead of earnings because earnings reports often prompt dramatic moves in the underlying stock, making the leverage options provide important. Market makers see this demand, and the uncertainty associated with a potential big move, so they raise the prices of those options to levels commensurate with the risk of selling them.

Meanwhile, overall in the market, with the

Nasdaq 100

off 2.3%, some options market analysts saw that the market was ready for a bit of a selloff.

Jay Shartsis, options strategist at

R.F. Lafferty

in New York, pointed out that the market could use a pullback considering it has been so strong lately. One of the reasons for the run-up before today was buying ahead of



Alan Greenspan's

testimony this morning before the

Senate Budget Commmittee

on hopes he'd say positive things for the market.

The CBOE equity put/call ratio stood at 0.59, from a close of 0.49 Wednesday. The 21-day CBOE equity put/call moving average, used by some strategists, as of Wednesday's close was 0.567, according to

Schaeffer's Investment Research


The overall options market equity put/call ratio, which includes the numbers from all the nation's options exchanges, stood at 0.57. For daily put/call ratio numbers, check out


Metrics Page.