NEW YORK -- Retail bulls are buying the dip in Ascena (ASNA) - Get Report after a pullback in the sector last week. 

OptionMonster's Heat Seeker system showed that 2,200 April 13 calls were purchased for 93 cents to $1.04 on Friday. This is clearly fresh buying, as the volume was well above the strike's previous open interest of 139 contracts. 

Long calls lock in the price where a stock can be purchased, allowing traders to position for gains at limited cost and benefit from potentially significant leverage if a rally occurs. Friday's contracts will closely track movements in the underlying because they are in the money. 

Ascena rose 3.08% to $14.06 on Friday. The retailer gapped down from around $16.50 on weak quarterly results last September and hit a low of $10.50 in mid-January. But shares have been climbing since and are now trying to break their 200-day moving average. 

Friday's overall option volume in the name -- whose brands include Justice, Lane Bryant, and Dressbarn -- was 19 times its daily average for the last month. Total calls outnumbered puts by more than 400 to 1, reflecting the session's bullish sentiment. 

-- Written by Mike Yamamoto of OptionMonster

Yamamoto has no positions in any stocks mentioned

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