SolarCity Corporation (SCTY) Struggles Fail to Deter Option Bulls

SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) is participating in the solar sell-off, but options traders are keeping the faith

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jul 1, 2015 at 1:56 PM

SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) is bucking the broad-market trend higher, down almost 2% amid a sector-wide slump. Nevertheless, options traders appear to be keeping the faith, as calls are crossing at five times the usual intraday rate, and almost triple the pace of puts.

Diving right in, SCTY's most active strike by a mile is the August 57.50 call. By buying to open this out-of-the-money option, speculators anticipate the shares will topple $57.50 by the close on Friday, Aug. 21, when back-month contracts expire. The stock was perched above this level as recently as last week, but the market's end-of-month blues weighed on SCTY considerably. In fact, since its June 23 close at $58.10, the equity has surrendered almost 10% to hover around $52.52 -- and is now below its year-to-date breakeven mark.

Notably, the aforementioned calls encompass SCTY's next turn in the earnings confessional, tentatively scheduled during the first full week of August. The market is currently pricing in an 11.4% post-earnings moved, based on straddle data; however, during the last eight quarters, the shares have averaged a slimmer 7.2% move in the session adjacent to earnings.

Shifting gears, sentiment on Wall Street is divided. On the one hand, two-thirds of analysts consider SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) a "buy" or better, with not a single "sell" to be found. On the other, a mind-numbing 45.4% of the stock's float is sold short, equivalent to more than two weeks of trading, at average daily volumes.

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