Another Down Day Draws SolarCity Corp (SCTY) Put Players

SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) put options are trading at an accelerated pace, as the solar stock sells off once again

by Josh Selway

Published on May 5, 2016 at 3:56 PM
Updated on May 5, 2016 at 4:34 PM

SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) just can't catch a break, with shares of the solar energy company down 7.4% at $21.89. While yesterday's slide came courtesy of harsh words from Jim Chanos, today's decline may be attributed to earnings-induced headwinds from Elon Musk's other firm, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Regardless, SCTY stock is currently staring at a nearly 28% week-to-date deficit, and put players are circling the options pits.

Over the past five sessions, each of the five SCTY options that have seen the biggest rise in open interest is a put. Among the most popular options over this span were the weekly 5/13 20-strike and May 18 puts, with data from Trade-Alert suggesting some buy-to-open activity at each strike. This means speculators are betting on more downside for SCTY over the next few weeks. 

That trend is continuing today, with the stock still on the short-sale restricted list. Specifically, traders are targeting the weekly 5/6 22-strike and June 20 puts. It looks like both strikes are seeing a mix of buy- and sell-to-open activity, as traders take sides ahead of the respective expiration dates, at the close tomorrow and on Friday, June 17. Notably, the latter encompasses the firm's first-quarter earnings report, due after the close next Monday.

Put buying has been popular among the stock's speculators recently. SCTY sports a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.61 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which outranks 77% of all other readings from the past year. 

While options traders appear to be skeptical of SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY), analysts are still bullish -- despite the stock's roughly 64% year-over-year plummet. For instance, 10 of the 14 brokerage firms covering the stock say it's a "buy" or better, with no "sell" ratings to be found. Plus, SCTY's average 12-month price target of $40.65 is almost two times current levels. In other words, there's potential for bearish analyst attention to hurt the underperformer even more. 

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