Affymetrix

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An earnings short-squeeze play in the scientific and technical instrument complex is Affymetrix ( AFFX), which is set to release numbers on Wednesday after the market close. This company develops, manufactures and sells products and services for genetic analysis to the life science research and clinical healthcare markets. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Affymetrix to report revenue of $65.63 million on a loss of 7 cents per share.

If you're looking for a small-cap stock that's trading within range of a near-term breakout heading into earnings this week, then take a strong look at shares of Affymetrix. Not just is this stock within range of a near-term breakout, but if that breakout were to trigger, the stock has little overhead resistance until $7 a share.

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The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Affymetrix is notable at 9.7%. That means that out of the 56.13 million shares in the tradable float, 6.07 million are sold short by the bears. This is once again a low float and heavily shorted stock, so any bullish price action post-earnings should send this screaming to the upside.

From a technical perspective, AFFX is currently trading above its 50-day moving average and just below its 200-day moving average, which is neutral trendwise. This stock dropped from its October high of $5.95 to a recent low of $3.68 a share. After printing that low, the stock has rebounded sharply towards its current price of $5.18 a share.

If you're bullish on AFFX, I would wait until after its report and buy the stock once it triggers a near-term breakout above $5.25 to $5.44 (200-day) a share with high volume. Look for volume that's tracking in close to or above its three-month average volume of 863,097 shares. If we get that action, I would then add to any long positions if AFFX takes out $5.95 a share with volume. A move over $5.95 will set this stock up to re-test $7 a share, or possibly get into that big gap down in price from last July that started near $8.

I would simply avoid any long-biased trades in AFFX if it fails to break out over its 200-day moving average at $5.44 with big volume following earnings. I don't love the downside potential in AFFX for any short trades, but it could drop back towards its 50-day at $4.39 if they disappoint the street with their earnings and guidance.

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