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SCANA Corporation's Options Are Undervalued Going Forward

SCANA Corporation (SCG) is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity, and the purchase, sale and transportation of natural gas in North Carolina and South Carolina. It operates through segments, including Electric Operations, Gas Distribution, Retail Gas Marketing, Energy Marketing and All Other. It reported earnings on Thursday, July 28:

(Source: TD Waterhouse)

As evident from the above, the company beat earnings estimates in 50% of time in the last eight quarters, underperforming or showing in-line results in the rest of time, and has seen modest volatility in the market price of its stock over the last three months:

The market participants expect the following numbers over the next few quarters, including the upcoming one:

(Source: TD Waterhouse)

On the other hand, market data show that the August options are relatively cheap:

(Source: TD Waterhouse)

The monthly straddles (options with a strike price of $75.00) are worth around 3.3% of the current market price of the stock. Historically, the stock has been more volatile than that on a monthly basis over the last year:

(Source: Google Finance. Calculations by author)

As you can see, the stock has had a monthly standard deviation of 5.5% over the last 52 weeks, while the straddle expiring in a bit less than a month has an implied monthly volatility of around 4.6% (calculated based on 15 business days remaining until expiration). I therefore see signs of modest undervaluation in these options. Hence, buying the straddle is a good idea from the theoretical standpoint. Investors may also be interested in selling out-of-money options to partially finance the straddles (i.e. "funding"):


On the one hand, this trade will limit expected returns. On the other hand, this action will minimize losses in the event the stock does not move swiftly over the next three weeks. The risk-return profile of such trade looks like this:


The breakeven window is only 5% wide meaning the stock has to move only about 3% in either direction to make the reverse iron condor profitable. In addition, the 1.7:1 risk-reward ratio is extremely attractive for like option strategies. I therefore think this is a great trade to initiate on Monday.

What do you think of this trade?

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