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5 Earnings Short-Squeeze Plays

Stocks in this article: VRARHOXMCWTRPBY

With that in mind, here's a look at several stocks that could experience big short squeezes when they report earnings this week.

Vera Bradley

My first earnings short-squeeze play is designer, producer and retailer of functional accessories for women Vera Bradley (VRA), which is set to release numbers Wednesday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Vera Bradley to report revenue of $124.81 million on earnings of 32 cents per share.

Just this morning, Lazard Capital said it expects Vera Bradley's second quarter results to miss guidance and consensus estimates and reiterates a sell rating on the stock with a $16 price target. The firm also said the company's third quarter outlook will miss estimates due to sales below plan and promotions above plan.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float Vera Bradley is extremely high at 55.2%. That means that out of the 21.61 million shares in the tradable float, 11.09 million shares are sold short by the bears. The bears have also been increasing their bets from the last reporting period by 5.4%, or by about 565,000 shares. If the bears get caught pressing their bets into a bullish quarter, then shares of VRA could easily rip higher post-earnings.

From a technical perspective, VRA is currently trending below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bearish. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month and change, with shares falling from its high of $26.33 to its intraday low of $18.67. During that move, shares of PBY have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action.

If you're bullish on VRA, then I would wait until after its report and look for long-biased trades if this stock manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance at $20.09 a share with high volume. Look for volume on that move that hits near or above its three-month average action of 423,263 shares. If that breakout hits, then VRA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 50-day moving average at $21.79 or its 200-day moving average of $23.30 a share.

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