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Which Utility Stocks Have the Highest Short Interests?

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NRG Energy

On December 15, 2016, NRG Energy (NRG) had a short interest-to-equity float ratio of 6.7%—the highest among the utility stocks that make up the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU). One month ago, its ratio was 7.4%. Three months ago, it was 5.4%.

In the past three months, NRG Energy has risen 12.8%—the most among the utility stocks shown in the table above. NRG Energy’s short interest-to-equity float ratio has risen 24.6% in the last three months.

NRG Energy is also the utility stock with the highest implied volatility. Its relatively high short interest could explain why it has one of the highest implied volatilities in the utility sector. 

While stocks can move wildly as the bulls and bears slug it out, high short interest in a stock implies expectations of a large fall, causing its implied volatility to rise. NRG Energy’s cash and cash equivalents were $1.5 billion in 3Q16.

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SCANA

SCANA’s (SCG) short interest-to-equity float ratio is 3.9%. One month ago, it was 3.5%. Three months ago, it was 3.3%. In the last three months, the stock has risen 2.8%, while its short interest-to-equity float ratio has risen 21.2%. SCANA’s net debt-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) ratio is 4.9x. Its cash and cash equivalents were $176 million in 3Q16.

WEC Energy

WEC Energy’s (WEC) short interest-to-equity float ratio is 3.9%. One month ago, it was 3.8%. Three months ago, it was 3.7%. In the last three months, the stock has fallen 5.1%, while its short interest-to-equity float ratio has risen 3.7%. WEC Energy’s net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is 4x. Its cash and cash equivalents were $49.8 million in 3Q16.

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NiSource

NiSource’s (NI) short interest-to-equity float ratio is 3.8%. One month ago, it was 4%. Three months ago, it was 2.7%. Its net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is 5.6x.

NiSource’s cash and cash equivalents were $15.5 million in 3Q16. In the last three months, the stock has fallen 6.9%, while its short interest-to-equity float ratio has risen 40.6%. It’s also one of the high implied volatility stocks that we discussed in Part One of this series.

Consolidated Edison

Consolidated Edison’s (ED) short interest-to-equity float ratio is 3.3%. One month ago, it was 3.7%. Three months ago, it was 3.7%. Its net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is 4.1x.

Consolidated Edison’s cash and cash equivalents were $944 million in 3Q16. The stock has fallen 3.8% in the last three months, while its short interest-to-equity float ratio has fallen 11.8%.

CenterPoint Energy (CNP) and Duke Energy’s (DUK) short interest-to-equity float ratios are 2.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

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