DAL – Delta Air Lines, Inc. – Shares of the leading U.S. carrier to Asia rallied as much as 9.40% this morning to touch an intraday high of $12.80 after the firm posted better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter. Delta recorded an 18% increase in revenue to $8.95 billion, beating average expectations of $8.82 billion in revenue. Excluding one-time items, the Atlanta-based company earned $1.10 a share in the third quarter, which exceeded average analyst forecasts of $0.94 a share. Bullish options traders displayed their delight with Delta Air Lines’ earnings report by scooping up out-of-the-money call options and shedding puts. Investors expecting Delta’s shares to soar to new heights by expiration in the final month of 2010 purchased approximately 10,200 calls at the December $15 strike for an average premium of $0.23 a-pop. Call buyers make money if Delta’s shares surge 19.0% over today’s high of $12.80 to surpass the average breakeven point to the upside at $15.23 by expiration day. Other optimistic options traders sold roughly 1,400 puts at the December $12 strike to take in premium of $0.59 per contract. Investors selling the put options keep the full premium received on the transaction as long as Delta’s shares exceed $12.00 through December expiration. Put sellers appear to be ready and willing to have shares of the underlying stock put to them at an effective price of $11.41 each in the event that the puts land in-the-money by expiration day. Options implied volatility on the U.S. carrier is down 10.3% to stand at 42.22% as of 11:35 a.m. in New York.