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Call buyers shopping at Macerich

Mike Yamamoto (mike.yamamoto@optionmonster.com)

Traders are betting that mall operator Macerich will rally by the end of next week.

More than 8,000 March 65 calls traded in a heavy buying pattern, led by a single print of 5,734 that went for $0.20, according to optionMONSTER's Heat Seeker tracking program. This is clearly new positioning, as open interest in the strike was just 103 contracts before the session began.

MAC rose 0.9 percent yesterday to close at $60.65. The real-estate invesment trust pulled back after testing resistance at the $62 level last month, just below its 52-week high from last May. The stock has been trading in a tight range since then, with support holding at its 50-day moving average for the last week.

The company is scheduled to present at the Citi Global Property CEO Conference after today's close. According a Reuters report last Tuesday, two sources said Macerich was in talks to sell four of its "lower sales-generating malls" to Starwood Retail Properties.

Yesterday's long calls , which lock in the price where shares can be purchased, are looking for MAC to gain roughly 7.5 percent or more by March 15. But these options will expire worthless if the stock remains below their $65 strike price. (See our Education section)

Total option volume was just shy of 9,000 contracts yesterday, compared with a daily average of just 117 in the last month. Only 58 puts traded in the session, a reflection of the day's bullish bias.

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