Dunkin' Brands Group

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An earnings short-squeeze play in the consumer cyclical complex is Dunkin' Brands Group ( DNKN), which is set to release numbers on Thursday before the market open. This is a franchisor of quick service restaurants serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods, as well as hard serve ice cream. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Dunkin' Brands Group to report revenue of $160.02 million on earnings of 28 cent per share.

If you're looking for a stock that's within range of breaking out above its IPO highs, then take a strong look at shares of Dunkin' Brands Group this week ahead of their earnings report. This stock is trending very strong heading into the quarter with shares just a few points off its 52-week high of $31.94.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Dunkin' Brands Group is rather high at 10.4%. That means that out of the 51.34 million shares in the tradable float, 5.36 million are sold short by the bears. The bears have also been increasing their short positions from the last reporting period by 17%, or by about 777,500 shares. If the bears get caught leaning too hard into this quarter, then we could easily see a large short-squeeze develop for DNKN.

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From a technical perspective, DNKN is currently trading above its 50-day moving average, which is bullish. This stock found some buying love back in January at around $25.50 a share, and since then it has trended higher towards its current price of $28.80 a share. The recent strength in DNKN now puts the stock within range of a major breakout if the company can deliver strong earnings and forward guidance.

If you're bullish on DNKN, I would look to get long the stock after it reports earnings if it can manage to break out above $30 to $32 a share with strong volume. Look for volume that registers near or above its three-month average volume of 1.05 million shares. If we get that action, I would look for a sharp short-squeeze since DNKN will enter all-time high territory.

I would simply avoid any long trades or look for shorting opportunities in DNKN if the stock fails to break out after they report earnings. Target a drop back towards the 50-day moving average of $25.83 a share, if we see heavy volume selling following the quarter.

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