By Chris McKhann , analyst at OptionMonster

Even as the stock market advanced for a third-straight day, the "safe haven" of gold continued to climb as well.

The total options volume for the SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) exchange-traded fund was 227,000 contracts by late afternoon Thursday, above the ETF's 20-day average of 167,000. OptionMonster's tracking systems show more than 50,000 of the April 100 calls traded, most of them bought.

The largest block was 19,000 April 100 contracts purchased for $1.25. This volume is roughly twice the open interest at that strike, indicating new positions. We also see volume at the March and May 100 strikes, though the former at 10,000 contracts is less than open interest. The May action is higher than open interest and also is mostly buying.

The ETF ended the session up some 2% to $91.10, continuing a rally from Tuesday's low of $87.78 as the price bounced off a long-term trend line that goes back to a low of $66 in October. The shares approached $100 in late February as the price of gold itself broke through $1,000 briefly.

Gold traditionally trades inversely to equities, but that relationship hasn't held during this economic crisis. Thursday's activity shows that even as markets rally and volatility comes down traders are still looking to gold as a hedge.

At the time of publication, McKhann had no positions in the SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund.

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