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TheStreet Open House

5 Stocks Set to Pop on Earnings

Dollar General

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One short-squeeze candidate in the specialty retail sector is Dollar General (DG), which is set to release numbers on Tuesday before the market open. This company operates as a discount retailer of general merchandise in the southern, southwestern, midwestern, and eastern U.S. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Dollar General to report revenues of $3.54 billion on earnings of 48 cents per share.

A company like Dollar General that offers discounted good should be thriving and succeeding easily in this current economic environment of slow growth and anemic job growth. This company missed Wall Street estimates last quarter after beating estimates during the prior two quarters. Net income has been trending up for the past three quarters and revenues have trended higher for the past four quarters.

If this company sees a move back into a recession for the U.S., then expect them to guide higher and for the stock to surge post-earnings as the shorts cover their bets. The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Dollar General is a notable 7.7%. That means that out of the 99.06 million shares in the tradable float, 7.66 million are sold short by the bears.

From a technical standpoint, this stock is currently trading above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. The stock has also just today started to break out above some near-term overhead resistance at around $33.30 a share.

One way to play this stock is to buy some out-of-the-money call options ahead of the quarter if you think this company is going to guide higher and attract some buyers. Since the stock is trending strong and not far off its 52-week high of $35.09, an options bet could pay off here. By playing the call options you risk will be defined to whatever you decide to put into the trade.

Another less risky way to play this is to simply wait until after they report and only buy the stock if it breaks out on solid volume. I would be a buyer once it trades above $35.09 on volume tracking close to or greater than its three-month average volume of 1.7 million. Keep in mind that $34 to $35 a share on this stock has marked tough resistance all year, so a breakout above those levels would be significant for the bulls.

I would only short this name if you see it drop below its 50-day moving average of $32.71 a share following their earnings report. I would add to any shorts if it then takes out its 200-day moving average of $31.30 a share, and target $29 or lower if the bears knock this lower post-earnings.

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