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5 Heavily Shorted Stocks That Could Pop on Earnings

Qihoo 360 Technology

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Another stock with the potential to squeeze the bears off their earnings report is Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU - Get Report), which is set to release results on Wednesday after the market close. Qihoo is engaged in the operations of Internet services and sales of third-party anti-virus software in the People's Republic of China. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Qihoo 360 Technology to report revenue of $29.12 million on earnings of 6 cents per share.

This company offers a mix of Internet services. First, it's the leading anti-virus firm in China, with 238 million monthly active users, which totals a virus-user penetration rate of 83.9% in the country. The company also sells a Web browser, 360Safe, which is second in total usage at 19% of market share. Qihoo 360 also has a popular Web game portal and a group-buying platform, and it offers cloud-computing services and security products for the iPhone and Android devices.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Qihoo 360 is just over 5%. That means that out of the 68.45 million shares in the tradable float, 3.66 million are sold short by the bears.

From a technical standpoint, this stock is trading above its 50-day moving average, which is bullish. The stock has near-term support at around $22 a share and overhead resistance at $23.50 to $24 a share. The stock is also trending below a key descending trend line. Until that trend line is breached to the upside, this stock has a lot of overhead resistance to contend with.

I would only be a buyer of this stock after its report if it breaks above that descending trend line (look for a move above $25) on big volume. Look for volume that's close to or well above its three-month average action of 963,000 shares. I would add to any long positions if you see this stock trade above $25.75 a share. A move over $25.74 should set up the stock for a run towards $30 a share or possible even higher.

I would only short this name after its report if the stock drops below its 50-day moving average on heavy volume. I would add to any short positions if it then drops below $20 a share and look for a near-term target of $17 to $16 a share of the bears take full control of this stock.

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