Chris McKhann , analyst at OptionMonster.

The iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM) is down more than 2% on the day, but calls active in the session suggest traders think the small-cap index could go substantially higher in the near term.

By the afternoon, the iShares Russell 2000 Index was at 43.30, having traded down to 42.98, slightly below where it opened yesterday.

But options action was heavy in the May 52 calls, where 9,500 traded at the same time across multiple exchanges, for 40 cents. These calls are another 20% out of the money, and OptionMonster's systems indicate that they were bought.

The purchase easily outstrips open interest, or established positions, of 3,839, so the trading indicates the opening of bullish positions.

The index remains up more than 25% from the March 9 low of 34.26. The ETF was as high as 75 before the drop in September.