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My first earnings short-squeeze play today is retail apparel player
Finish Line(FINL - Get Report), which is set to release numbers on Friday before the market open. This mall-based specialty retailer in the U.S. operates two retail divisions under the Finish Line brand name and Running Specialty Group. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Finish Line to report revenue of $357.27 million on earnings of 44 cents per share.
This stock has been uptrending fairly strong so far in 2012, with shares up around 19%. Shares of Finish Line trading are currently trading about three points off its 52-week high of $26.16 a share ahead of its report. The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Finish Line is notable at 7.2%. That means that out of the 49.19 million shares in the tradable float, 3.53 million shares are sold short by the bears.
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From a technical perspective, FINL is currently trading above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months, with shares soaring from a low of $17.82 to its recent high of $24.90 a share. During that uptrend, shares of FINL have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed FINL within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade.
If you're bullish on FINL, then I would wait until after its report and look for long-biased trades if it manages to break out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $24 to $24.90 a share with high volume. Look for volume on that move that hits near or above its three-month average action of 707,323 shares. If that breakout hits, then FINL will have a great chance of re-testing or possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance level at $26.16 a share.
I would simply avoid FINL or look for short-biased trades if after earnings it fails to trigger that breakout, and then drops below its 50-day moving average of $22.36 a share with heavy volume. If we get that move, then FINL will setup to re-test or possibly take out its 200-day moving average of $21.58 a share. If FINL takes out its 200-day, then it could easily trend down towards $20 to $19 a share post-earnings.