NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Holiday shoppers have already begun to prepare their gift lists and are thinking about where to shop.
Some will shop online, while others will check websites, then go to the mall to shop just for the fun of it. Some even don't mind the hassles of the doorbuster deals, which begin as early as Thanksgiving Day.
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On Wednesday and Thursday four mall anchors will report third-quarter earnings and offer holiday sales guidance.
Macy's (M) reports before the opening bell Wednesday. This stock has a solid year-to-date gain of about 11%.
JC Penney (JCP) reports after the closing bell Wednesday under the cloud of what some analysts say is a failing turnaround story. This stock is down 21% year to date.
Retail sales data for September were weaker than expected, and sales for October will be released on Friday. Reacting to earnings and then to retail sales data puts investors in double jeopardy volatility.
Here are the key trading levels for both buyers and sellers of these mall anchor stocks:
Dillard's ($108.39) was sliding lower as the year began, trading as low as $82.75 on Feb. 24, below its 200-day simple moving average then at $85.52. Moving back above the 200-day SMA on Feb. 25 provided the technical momentum for the stock to rally 51% to an all-time intra-day high at $125.17 into Aug. 5. Shares then declined 20% to as low as $100.00 into Oct. 15 which was below its 200-day SMA then at $103.89.
Given this extreme volatility, investors should employ a "good 'til canceled" limit order to sell strength to a key technical level at $120.