One earnings short-squeeze trade idea in the apparel and accessories complex is Vera Bradley (VRA), which is set to release numbers on Thursday after the market close. This company is a designer, producer, marketer, and retailer of functional accessories for women. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Vera Bradley to report revenue of $116.83 million on earnings of 29 cents per share.
If you're looking for a heavily-shorted beaten-down stock ahead of its earnings report this week, then make sure to check out shares of Vera Bradley. This stock has plunged 33% in the last six months, and shares are currently trading just a few points above its 52-week low of $21.29 a share.That severe beat-down inspired Baird to release some notes on the stock Tuesday, saying that Vera Bradley remains an under-appreciated retail growth story and anticipating first-quarter results to be a positive catalyst. The firm remains positive on the company's growth prospects, attractive category position, and potential for multiple expansion. The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Vera Bradley is extremely high at 47.9%. That means that out of the 14.48 million shares in the tradable float, 9.62 million are sold short by the bears. This stock could easily experience a monster short-squeeze post-earnings, since it's so heavily-shorted and the float is so extremely small. All the bulls will need is a solid number and bullish guidance to spark a big-time short-covering rally. From a technical perspective, VRA is currently trading below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock has been destroyed by the bears in the last three months, with shares downtrending hard from a high of $39.48 to a recent low of $21.29 a share. During that sharp move lower, shares of VRA have consistently made lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, the stock has bounced recently from $21.29 to $25.04 a share off oversold conditions, since its relative strength index reading was under 30 before that bounce. If you're bullish on VRA, I would look for long-biased trades after they report if this stock manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance at $25.04 to $27.93 a share with high-volume. Look for volume on that move that registers near or above its three-month average action of 966,653 shares. If we get that action, then VRA will be solidly back above its 50-day moving average of $27.07 a share, and the stock will have a great chance of hitting $30 or higher post-earnings. I would simply avoid VRA or look for short-biased trades if the stock fails to trigger that move, and then drops below some near-term support at $22 to $21.29 a share with high volume. If we get that action, then look for VRA to easily drop below $20 a share and trend significantly lower if the bears pressure the stock down post-earnings.
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