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5 Earnings Short-Squeeze Plays

Stocks in this article: HMIN KORS IOC CSOD SZYM

I would simply avoid KORS or look for short-biased trades if after earnings this stock fails to trigger that move, and then drops back below some near-term support at $50.20 a share with high volume. If we get that move, then look for KORS to re-test or possibly take out its 200-day moving average of $45.45 a share.

InterOil

One potential earnings short-squeeze play in the oil and gas complex is InterOil (IOS), which is set to release numbers on Wednesday after the market close. This company is engaged in the exploration and production of oil and gas properties in Papua New Guinea and its surrounding region. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect InterOil to report revenue of $246.50 million on earnings of 12 cents per share.

This stock has been uptrending pretty strong so far in 2012, with shares up nicely by just over 25%. Despite that strong trend, shares of InterOil are still way off its 52-week high of $99.05 a share heading into its earnings report.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for InterOil is extremely high at 27.7%. That means that out of the 41.14 million shares in the tradable float, 9.46 million shares are sold short by the bears. The bears have also been increasing their bets from the last reporting period by 3%, or by about 273,000 shares. Any bullish earnings and forward guidance news for InterOil could set off a major short-squeeze for the stock post-earnings.

From a technical perspective, IOC is currently trading below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock has been downtrending for the last two months, with shares falling from a high of $99.05 to its recent low of $63 a share. During that downtrend, shares of IOC have been mostly making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical action. That said, shares of IOC have now started to find some buying interest at around $63 a share.

If you're bullish on IOC, then I would wait until after its report and look for long-biased trades if it can manage to break out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $67.95 to $68.48 a share with high volume. Look for volume on that move that hits near or above its three-month average action of 782,781 shares. If IOC triggers that breakout, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 50-day moving average of $75.11 a share. Any high-volume move above $75.11 will then put $80 to $85 into focus for IOC.

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