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US Airways Group, Inc. (LCC) has attracted a flood of bullish option volume today, with call activity climbing to 1.41 times the expected level. So far, more than 7,300 calls have changed hands on the "low-cost carrier," compared to the stock's expected call volume of fewer than 5,200 contracts.
The day's most active strike is LCC's April 8 call, with 2,792 contracts crossing the tape. No less than 90% of these calls have traded at the ask price, revealing a strong bias toward buying activity, and implied volatility on this back-month option is up 0.7% at last check. Currently, this out-of-the-money call has just 659 contracts in residence, suggesting that the bulk of today's volume consists of newly opened positions.
Today's upbeat option activity marks a distinct deviation from the recently bearish trend on LCC. The stock has racked up a 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE) put/call volume ratio of 0.53, which ranks in the 72nd annual percentile -- indicating that traders have purchased puts over calls at a faster pace than usual in recent weeks.
Likewise, the airline issue's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at 0.82, in the skeptically skewed 81st annual percentile. And short sellers have also piled on LCC's bearish bandwagon, as evidenced by a 28.2% jump in short interest during the most recent reporting period. Now, these pessimistic positions represent a noteworthy 22.5% of LCC's float.
However, these bears are no doubt feeling the heat today amid a nearly 5% rally for LCC. The stock has blazed a steady path higher in 2010, adding 51.4% year-to-date with the help of its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. In fact, just earlier today, LCC found a fresh annual high of $7.75 per share.