$FDC call prices triple overnight

First Data Corporation turned quick gains for bullish option traders today.

Just yesterday, Investitute’s tracking systems detected the purchase of 2,600 January $17 calls for $0.15 to $0.25 with shares at $16.21 This was clearly fresh buying, as open interest in the strike was only 990 contracts before the activity appeared. Investitute co-founder Jon Najarian cited the unusual activity on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” that afternoon.

Those calls traded for $0.55 this morning, more than 3.5 times its original purchase price. The stock rose 3.1 percent at the same time, showing how quickly options can far outpace gains in their underlying shares.

Long calls lock in the price where investors can buy a stock, letting them position for a rally at limited cost with the potential for significant leverage. They carry less risk than owning shares because the most that can be lost is the price of the options no matter how far the stock might fall.

FDC was up 1.22 percent today to close at $16.62. The credit-card processor has climbed above its 20-day moving average as the holiday shopping season reaches its peak.