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One earnings short-squeeze trade candidate is photography player Photronics ( PLAB), which is set to release numbers on Wednesday after the market close. This is a manufacturers of photomasks, which are precision photographic quartz plates containing microscopic images of electronic circuits. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Photronics to report revenue of $113.89 million on earnings of 9 cents per share.

If you're looking for a stock that's within range of a big breakout, then make sure to put shares of Photronics on your trading radar this week.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Photronics is rather high at 12.7%. That means that out of the 53.35 million shares in the tradable float, 7.42 million are sold short by the bears. The bears have also been increasing their bets from the last reporting period by 7.3%, or by about 502,700 shares.

From a technical perspective, PLAB is currently trading above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock has been uptrending strong since it hit $4.95 back in November. During that uptrend, the stock has consistently made higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish price action. Now shares of PLAB are within range of triggering a big breakout post-earnings.

If you're bullish on PLAB, wait until after earnings and look for long-biased trades if the stock breaks out above some near-term overhead resistance at $7.57 to $7.65 a share with high volume. Look for volume that's tracking in close to or above its three-month average volume of 555,950 shares. If we get that action, I would look for PLAB to make a run at its next significant overhead resistance levels at $8.75 to $10 a share.

I would avoid any long trades or would look for short-biased trades in PLAB if after earnings the stock fails to break out and then drops below both its 50-day of $6.96 and 200-day of $6.62 moving averages with volume. If we get that action, target a drop back toward $6 to $5.50 a share, or possibly lower if the bears pound this stock lower post-earnings.

To see more potential earnings short squeeze plays, including NVIDIA ( NVDA), Weight Watchers International ( WTW) and C&J Energy Services ( CJES), check out the Earnings Short Squeeze Plays portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.


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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., is an independent trader who focuses on stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to and maintains the website, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.

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