Just before bank stocks emerged from a four-week slump last week, options players jumped aboard, eager to ride the wave of good fortune.

The volume of "call" options to buy stocks of BankBoston Corp., BankAmerica Corp., and NationsBank Corp. surged dramatically the week before positive economic news flooded in, lifting the S&P 500 almost 5% and the bank stocks 6.8% in the five trading days through Thursday.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.