Specialty coffee retailer Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) - Get Report is due to release earnings Thursday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Starbucks to report revenue of $5.75 billion on earnings of 55 cents per share.

Investors are already bidding up shares of Starbucks ahead of the quarter, after the company announced it would buy the remaining 50% share of its East China business from joint venture partners for around $1.3 billion, marking the biggest acquisition ever for the company.

The agreement will give Starbucks 100% ownership of around 1,300 Starbucks stores in Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. Starbucks also said it plans to have a total of 5,000 stores in mainland China by 2021. Shares of Starbucks are trading up 2.4% to $59.35 on Thursday afternoon.

Shares of Starbucks have been trending a bit off over the last three months, with the stock down just 3.7%. However, that slight downtrend during the last three months is coming after Starbucks tagged a new 52-week high in May, at $64.87 a share.

If you take a look at the chart for Starbucks, you'll notice that this stock has been downtrending over the last three months, with shares falling off their high of $64.87 to a recent low of $57.40. During that downtrend, this stock has been making mostly lower highs and lower lows. That said, shares of Starbucks have now entered a consolidation phase ahead of the quarter, with the stock trending sideways in a tight range between $57.40 on the downside and around $60 a share on the upside.

From a technical standpoint, I'm going to lean bullish on Starbucks into their earnings report today, since I like how the stock is still printing higher lows from a trend perspective since its $50.17 low from last November. I expect Starbucks to break out post-earnings out of this short-term consolidation phase and we should see a decent pop higher as long as we don't hear anything significantly bearish from the company on the conference calls.

Considering that major acquisition today, Starbucks is likely to issue a solid growth forecast now that they're stamping out a larger footprint into China. This bodes well for a potential numbers bump with the earnings forecast it will issue in just a few minutes.

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Traders should now look for long-biased trades either ahead of the quarter to anticipate the move, or after if Starbucks manages to break out above some key near-term overhead resistance levels at its 50-day moving average of $60.15 a share to $61 a share with high volume. Look for volume on that move that registers near or above its three-month average action of 7.75 million shares.

If that breakout develops post-earnings, then this stock will set up to make a run at its next key overhead resistance levels at $63 to its 52-week high of $64.87, or even $68 to $70 a share. Traders can either stop out, or simply avoid this trade idea all together if Starbucks fails to clear those key resistance levels post-earnings and drops back below some key near-term support levels at its 200-day moving average of $57.37 to $57 a share.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.