OptionMonster's Heat Seeker system detected buying in the April 25 calls on Wednesday, initially for $1.46 and $1.47. Later blocks priced for as much as $1.60 as the brokerage's stock inched higher.
Such long calls lock in the price where investors can buy shares, allowing them to position for a rally with limited cost. That controls their losses in the event of a drop and can result in significant leverage if buyers get the direction right.
E*Trade shares rose 0.74% to $24.44 on Wednesday and have been churning in the low $20s all year. The period of consolidation comes after the stock tripled between the start of 2013 and early 2014.
More than 4,700 of the April 25s changed hands in the name, compared with previous open interest of just 2,164 contracts. Total option volume was well above average in the session, with overall calls outnumbering puts by a bullish 37-to-1 ratio.
-- Written by David Russell of OptionMonsterDisclosure: E*Trade is a competitor of OptionMonster's sister company TradeMonster.