One potential earnings short-squeeze play in the medical laboratories and research complex is Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRLI), set to release numbers Thursday before the market open. This company is engaged in providing laboratory-testing services to customers in the greater New York metropolitan area, as well as to customers in other states. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Bio-Reference Laboratories to report revenue of $161.48 million on earnings of 32 cents per share.The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Bio-Reference Laboratories is extremely high at 22.6%. That means that out of the 24.57 million shares in the tradable float, 5.56 million shares are sold short by the bears. The bears have also been increasing their bets from the last reporting period by 4.4%, or by about 234,000 shares. This is a large short-interest on a stock with a very small float. If Bio-Reference Laboratories beats earnings and raises forward guidance, then this stock could explode to the upside post-earnings. From a technical perspective, BRLI is currently trading below its 50-day moving average and above its 200-day moving average, which is neutral trendwise. During the last three months, BRLI has been downtrending from a high of $24.48 to a recent low of $18.29 a share. During that move lower, shares of BRLI have consistently made lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, BRLI could be ready to reverse that trend if it can return to a chart pattern of higher highs and higher lows post-earnings. If you're in the bull camp on BRLI, then I would wait until after they report and look for long-biased trades if this stock can manage to move back above its 50-day moving average of $21.73, and then above some near-term overhead resistance at $22.51 a share with high-volume. Look for volume on that move that registers near or above its three-month average action of 200,945 shares. If we get that action, then the bulls could push BRLI back up towards $23 to $24.50 a share or higher post-earnings. I would avoid BRLI or look for short-biased trades if the stock fails to maintain a trend above its 50-day at $21.73 and then drops below some major near-term support at $18.29 a share with high volume. If we get that move, then look for BRLI to trend down toward $16 to $15.50 a share or lower if the bears spark a selloff post-earnings.
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