Call spread looks for upside in Cliffs shares

These Are The Most Shorted S&P 500 StocksCliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) – A bullish spread initiated on Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) this morning looks for shares in the largest North American producer of iron ore pellets to move higher by year end. Shares in Cliffs today increased as much as 6.75% to $34.47 in the first half of the session, rebounding after last week trading down to a 2-year low of $28.05. One options player positioning for the price of the underlying to continue higher appears to have purchased a 500-lot Dec. 28 ’12 $34/$38 call spread for a net premium of $0.78 per contract. The spread makes money as long as Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) shares rally 2.6% over the current price of $33.91 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $34.78, with maximum potential profits of $3.22 per contract available on the position in the event shares gain 12% to hit $38.00 by expiration.

YPF SA (NYSE:YPF) – Shares in Argentina’s largest energy company rose sharply today on reports the oil and gas producer may bid for Petrobras’s Argentine assets. The stock increased as much as 7.6% to $13.95 in the first half of the trading day, sparking heavier than usual trading traffic in YPF SA (NYSE:YPF) options. Upside call buying in the front month options suggests some traders are positioning for shares to extend gains in the near term, with upwards of 700 lots changing hands at the Dec. $15 strike versus open interest of 10 contracts. It looks like most of these call options were purchased for an average premium of $0.10 apiece in the early going, preparing buyers to profit should YPF SA (NYSE:YPF)’s shares rally another 8% to exceed $15.10 at expiration next week. Shares in YPF SA (NYSE:YPF), down roughly 60% year-to-date, last traded above $15.10 back in April. It looks like traders are also buying the Jan. 2013 $15 strike calls today, with roughly 310 purchased this morning for an average premium of $0.23 per contract. Time and sales data from Thursday’s session reveals around 500 of the Jan. 2013 $15 strike calls were purchased yesterday at a premium of $0.20 each.