Fresh Market

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One more earnings short-squeeze play is specialty food retailer Fresh Market ( TFM), which is set to release numbers on Wednesday before the market open. This company focuses on perishable product categories, including meat, seafood, produce, deli, bakery, floral, sushi and prepared foods. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Fresh Market to report revenue of $307.99 on earnings of 27 cents per share.

This company has topped Wall Street estimates last quarter after falling short in the previous two quarters. During the first quarter, the company reported net income of 40 cents per share versus Wall Street estimates of 35 cents per share. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, the company missed Wall Street estimates by one cent. In the first quarter, profit jumped 43% to $19.3 million from $13.5 million the year earlier. Revenue rose 22.8% to $324.8 million from $264.5 million.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Fresh Market stands at 8.3%. That means that out of the 40.62 million shares in the tradable float, 3.13 million are sold short by the bears. If Fresh Market can deliver the earnings news and numbers the bulls are looking for, then we could easily see a decent short-squeeze develop post-earnings.

From a technical perspective, TFM is currently trading above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock has been uptrending extremely strong for the past six months, with shares trending higher from a low of $43.37 to a recent high of $62.48 a share. During that uptrend, shares of TFM have consistently made higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has pushed TFM within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade post-earnings.

If you're bullish on TFM, then I would wait until after they report earnings and look for long-biased trades if this stock triggers a breakout trade above some near-term overhead resistance at $62.48 a share (or above its daily high on Wednesday, whichever is greater) with high volume. Look for volume on that move that registers near or above its three-month average action of 920,636 shares. If we get that action, then look for TFM to hit $70 a share or higher post-earnings. Keep in mind that new high hit above $62.48 will mean that TFM has entered into all-time territory.

I would simply avoid TFM after earnings if it fails to trigger that breakout, and then moves back below some major near-term support at $57.36 to $56.47 a share with heavy volume. If we get that move, then TFM will have traded back below its 50-day moving average. We could possibly see TFM trade down towards $50 to $48 a share if those near-term support levels at taken out post-earnings.

To see more potential earnings short squeeze plays, check out the Earnings Short Squeeze Plays portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

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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 Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, 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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