Last year, Starbucks struggled to keep pace with a roaring broad market rally, ending a little over 3% higher than it started the year. Meanwhile, the rest of the S&P wrapped up 2017 with 19.4% gains.
But Starbucks' laggard status could finally be coming to an end. Better still, shares could be on the verge of accelerating a new uptrend in shares.
All this as a bunch of institutional investors get ready to refill on the Starbucks story at the JPMorgan Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant and Leisure Management Access Forum in Las Vegas on Friday.
You don't need to be at the presentation to figure out the price action. To figure out how to trade Starbucks here, we're turning to the chart for a technical look.
At a glance, Starbucks' price action is choppy, but it's far from indecipherable.
Since bottoming back in August, Starbucks has been bouncing its way higher in a well-defined uptrend. Every test of the bottom of that price trend has provided a low-risk, high-reward opportunity to be a Starbucks buyer.
Simply put, Starbucks is a "buy the dips stock" right now.
And after getting overbought back in January, February's correction provided the first trendline bounce of 2018, and another opportunity to buy the dip in Starbucks.
Here, shares look primed to break out above a trendline resistance level that they've previously been able to take out. That could mean that the trend in shares is about to accelerate.
A breakout to $58 is a new, clear buy signal that Starbucks is ramping up its trend. On the flipside, if Starbucks fails to push to new post-correction highs, the buying opportunity comes on the next test of trendline support, currently down around the $55 level.
Risk management is crucial, especially in this market. The key to the Starbucks trade is the uptrend that's been intact since last fall. If Starbucks materially violates February's lows around $53.50, then the uptrend is broken and you don't want to own shares anymore.
Meanwhile, there are two clear buying scenarios emerging in Starbucks this March.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.