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Call speculators swarmed Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR: sentiment, chart, options) on Friday, following a bullish note from CNBC's Jim Cramer. During the course of the session, the car rental concern saw nearly 4,800 calls change hands – more than six times its average daily volume of roughly 750 calls, and more than eight times Friday's single-session put volume.

Most active was the equity's in-the-money October 10 call, which saw almost 3,400 contracts cross the tape on open interest of fewer than 650 contracts. The round-number 10 strike is now home to peak call open interest in the front-month series, with more than 2,400 contracts in residence. Plus, 43% of the contracts traded at the ask price, suggesting some traders purchased eleventh-hour bets ahead of expiration. As a result of the escalating demand for the front-month option, implied volatility skyrocketed by 41.6% to 124.4%.

Friday's bombardment of buy-to-open call activity echoes the recent trend on the International Securities Exchange (ISE). During the past two weeks, speculators on the ISE have bought to open more than five times as many CAR calls than puts. In fact, the security's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.44 ranks in the 71st annual percentile, implying that traders on the ISE have purchased CAR calls at a more rapid pace only 29% of the time during the past year.

At last check, the shares of CAR have extended their impressive year-to-date gain of more than 1,630%, adding 25 cents, or 2.1%, to flirt with the $12.40 region.


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