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Options Buzz: YPF Options Leading the Action

Mixed in with fallout from the consolidating financial services, Argentine oil firm

YPF SA's

(YPF) - Get YPF SA Report

October 25 call options racked up strong early volume today as two major positions were closed out by institutional investors.

About 1,150 YPF October 25 calls traded, accounting for about 65% of the open interest in the contract. Exercising the in-the-money contracts was seen by traders and analysts as profit-taking behind YPF's strong recent performance and strong performance in both the oil and gas and the Latin American sectors.

The trading sent the price of the options up more than 4, from a Wednesday close to 7 1/4 to a price of 11 3/8 around noon today. The two blocks traded represented about 575 contracts each.

Joseph Sunderman, an analyst with Cincinnati-based

Investment Research Institute

, was bullish on YPF in his daily report Wednesday. He said YPF, which has seen a jump of almost 10% in its stock price, "could continue into uncharted territory." He set 39 as a target for the stock, which was trading at 36 1/2 at midday.

In other action:

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Chase Manhattan

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saw its January 125 calls trade more than 5,500 contracts by midday, falling 1 1/8 to 4 on continuing speculation that the bank will be involved in some type of acquisition with a major brokerage firm. The negative sentiment could be based on the fact that Chase has not pulled the trigger on a deal yet.

Ascend

(ASND) - Get Ascendis Pharma A/S Report

after 17 consecutive up days dipped to 36 1/2 from 38 1/16 Wednesday, after bulls began jumping into its October 40 and 45 calls, showing continued patience with the firm. Sunderman and the IRI crowd noticed more than 5,000 of the calls accumulating over the past six days, but they see short-term pressure on Ascend increasing as investors await an October earnings announcement.

AES

(AES) - Get AES Corporation Report

November 50 calls were active, showing a positive response to yesterday's announcement that the company would build a $440 million power plant in Argentina. The stock closed Wednesday at 42 5/16 and was trading at 43 3/4 at midday.