Quad/Graphics

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My first earnings short-squeeze play is commercial printing services player Quad/Graphics ( QUAD), which is set to release numbers on Tuesday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Quad/Graphics to report revenue of $1.32 billion on earnings of 92 cents per share.

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The current short interest as a percentage of the float Quad/Graphics is very high at 17.1%. That means that out of the 26.02 million shares in the tradable float, 5.18 million shares are sold short by the bears. This is a high short interest on a stock with a relatively low tradable float. Any bullish earnings news could easily set off a monster short-squeeze for shares of QUAD post-earnings.

From a technical perspective, QUAD is currently trending above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month, with shares moving higher from its low of $28.44 to its intraday high of $35.99 a share. During that uptrend, shares of QUAD have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

If you're bullish on QUAD, then I would wait until after its report and look for long-biased trades if this stock manages to break out above its 52-week high at $35.99 a share (or Tuesday's intraday high if higher) with high volume. Look for volume on that move that hits near or above its three-month average action of 149,155 shares. If that breakout hits, then QUAD will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $45 to $50 a share.

I would simply avoid QUAD or look for short-biased trades if after earnings it fails to trigger that breakout, and then drops back below some near-term support levels at $34 to $33 a share with high volume. If we get that move, then QUAD will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major support areas at its 50-day moving average of $31.62 a share to $29 a share.

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