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Does it mean "buy the stocks of the banks"?

Goldman analysts said one good way to play banks may be in the options market because many investors are “overlooking the potential for a rate hike to be a positive catalyst for these stocks.” They recommend buying both 6-month and 12-month calls on financials. Buying calls is a way to gain exposure to a stock without owning it out right and it gives the investor the right to buy a security at a set price and time.

source: www.marketwatch.com

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Play in this context means "trade" that is, buy and sell banks stocks possibly in a short time because you are expecting a short term increase in the bank stocks prices.

Play:

  • to exploit or trade in (an investment, business opportunity, stock, etc.).

(Dictionary.com)

Play:

  • A slang term that describes the positive aspects of an investment decision. A play in investing is the reason why an investor made his or her decision.

  • "Playing the stock market" is a phrase used by beginner investors signifying that they have gained access, simulated or real, to the ups and downs of the stock market.

(Investopedia)

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