Two Ways to Play Ailing Charming Shoppes - TheStreet

Two Ways to Play Ailing Charming Shoppes

There are two ways to play the stock's current short setup.
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Specialty apparel retailer

Charming Shoppes

(CHRS) - Get Report

has been in a downtrend since the fourth quarter of 2006. The stock price has moved from just over $15 to the range congestion near $11 this summer.

Almost all of the gains the company saw in the third quarter of 2006 have been erased. At the end of June, Charming Shoppes announced that its second-quarter earnings would fall short of earlier projections -- which led to a sharp drop in the share price.

When this happens, normally most of the negativity is immediately priced into the stock and the price reverses as the selling exhausts itself. However, instead of this reversal scenario, shares of Charming Shoppes remain congested near the $11 level. This suggests that distribution pressure could still be strong, and the stock is seeking the most stable former support from August 2006 at $9.70. A break of the current range support at $10.55 would confirm a downtrend continuation signal.

The risks associated with this type of setup revolve around the reward/risk ratio. Charming Shoppes has already come down from just over $15, and the next major support is at $9.70. Even an entry at $11 would only yield $1.30 in profits. So the easy money on the short side has already been made. This last bit of potential is the hard money, and it takes a fair amount of patience to wait for an entry point.

There are two ways to trade such a setup. The first is to wait for a small break of resistance, and in the case of Charming Shoppes, short into the break near $12. In this case, using $13 as a stop level would yield about $1 in risk. With the entry closer to $12, the reward increases -- but the probability for the trade to yield that profit is lower.

The other way is to trade the break of $10.55, looking for an entry closer to $11, with a stop just above the range resistance at $11.40. This offers about 40 cents in risk, with a $1.30 reward.

Charming Shoppes (CHRS) -- Daily

However, this entry strategy is prone to a rinse. A rinse occurs when the price breaks just enough to suck in the short exposure, then spikes the stock above the invalidation point just to take out that liquidity. This has been happening quite often in the recent broader-market uptrend.

Therefore, I would prefer to use the first strategy to find an ideal setup for this trade. Look for an entry near $12, with a stop at $13. Once the stock breaks below $10.55, you can then look for a price target of $9.70 to $10 as the profit range. If the price moves under $10.55 without first offering an entry, this trade is no longer valid. Shares closed at $10.73 Monday.

Updates on Previous Picks

AMN Healthcare Services

(AHS)

did not set up

last week. The stock needs to close under $21, and if this happens, look for an entry at $21.25 with a stop-loss is at $23.50. The next support level is near $19, and this support should allow traders to partial out short exposure while lowering their invalidation level to break-even. The final support level would be at the April 2006 low of $17.50. The full position could be covered at that level.

If the stock closes under $21 and moves under $20.40 without first offering entry back at $21.25, this setup is no longer valid. If the stock goes above $22.20 without first closing under $21, this also negates the setup. Shares closed at $21.46 Monday.

Provident Financial Holdings

(PROV) - Get Report

moved under $23.35 without first offering an entry at $25. Therefore, the trade setup was invalidated and the stock has been taken off of the watch list.

At the time of publication, Schumacher had no positions in stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.

Chris Schumacher is a financial trader, speaker, writer and co-author of

Techniques of Tape Reading

. While Schumacher cannot offer specific investment or trading advice, he appreciates your feedback;

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