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Options traders on Tuesday took an interest in telecom stock Alcatel Lucent SA (NYSE:ALU - 0.99), with call volume surging to roughly 19 times the norm. There were approximately 12,000 calls traded on ALU during the course of the session, far outpacing the 323 puts that changed hands.
Most active was the January 2013 1-strike call, where 10,117 contracts crossed the tape. The vast majority of those calls were exchanged at the ask price, indicating they were purchased, and open interest at this strike jumped overnight by 10,091 contracts. What's more, implied volatility on the January 1 call spiked 20.1 percentage points to 89.5% by the time Tuesday's closing bell sounded. In other words, traders showed a healthy appetite for bullish bets on ALU.
The volume-weighted average price (VWAP) on this popular call was $0.19, which means the option buyers will begin to profit if ALU moves above breakeven at $1.19 prior to January expiration. The shares closed at $0.99 on Tuesday, so ALU would need to gain 20.2% to hit that breakeven rail.
Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has lost more than 66% of its value. ALU has recovered a bit from its recently tagged annual low of $0.91, but the shares are now looking up at resistance from the $1 level and their 10-day moving average.
In European trading today, ALU turned higher after its Chinese unit struck a deal to deploy the lion's share of China Mobile's TD-LTE trial network for a 10-city service rollout. Here in the U.S., the stock opened on a gain of more than 7%.