Arcángel de Jesús Montoya
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Arcángel de Jesús Montoya in Money Trafficking,

Buy CenturyLink's Three-Week Straddles Before Earnings

CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL) is an integrated communications company. The company is engaged in providing an array of communications services to residential and business customers. The Company's segments include Business and Consumer. Its communications services include local and long-distance voice, high-speed Internet, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), private line (including special access), data integration, Ethernet, colocation, managed hosting (including cloud hosting), network, public access, video, wireless and other ancillary services. It is reporting earnings on Wednesday, August 3, after market close:

(Source: TD Waterhouse)

As evident from the above, the company beat earnings estimates in 75% of time in the last eight quarters, underperforming in 25% of time,and has seen substantial 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)

Market data show that the August options are valued fairly:

(Source: TD Waterhouse)

The three-week straddles (options with a strike price of $30.00) are worth around 7.1% 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 9.1% over the last 52 weeks, while the straddle expiring in a bit less than three weeks has an implied volatility of around 7.2% (calculated based on 13 business days remaining until expiration), also including volatility from the earnings event this week. I therefore see signs of fair valuation in these options. Hence, buying the straddle is a good idea, if you believe the stock was move swiftly in either direction, as it did a few times in the past.

Investors may also be interested in selling out-of-money options to partially fund the trade:

(Source: optionsprofitcalculator.com)

On the one hand, this 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 this trade looks like this:

(Source: optionsprofitcalculator.com)

What do you think of this trade?