NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walgreen (WAG) reports quarterly earnings before the opening bell on Tuesday. Despite matching or missing earnings estimates for six consecutive quarters, the stock is poised to set a new all-time high given a better than expected report.
Meanwhile CVS Health (CVS) continues to set all-time intraday highs almost daily, including Friday's high at $96.73. CVS beat earnings estimates two quarters in a row since quitting tobacco sales and expanding its health care presence with Minute Clinics. This stock may be benefiting from money managers who practice "socially responsible investing." CVS has a year-to-date gain of 34%, significantly beating Walgreen's gain of 27%.
Analysts expect Walgreen to report earnings of 74 cents a share. This earnings reports comes just as the company is completing its merger with German pharmacy giant Alliance Boots. On Friday, the company announced that it was moving from the NYSE to the Nasdaq, with the ticker symbol "WBA." Investors also face an analyst downgrade to neutral from buy, but with a price target raised to $77 from $72 -- in the stock's current trading range.
Here's the daily chart for Walgreen.
Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith
The daily chart for Walgreen ($73.23) shows that the stock has had a volatile ride in 2014. The stock began the year above its 200-day simple moving average (green line) and traded to a 2014 low at $55.27 on Feb. 5. This began a momentum run-up of 38% to an all-time intraday high at $76.39 on June 19.
On Aug. 6, the stock plunged after announcing that it would remain U.S. based after completing its acquisition of Alliance Boots. Investors had expected Walgreen to relocate to Europe to reduce its tax bill.
The stock traded as high as its 50-day simple moving average (blue line) at $72.22 on Aug. 5, then as low as $57.75 on Aug. 6, a one-day plunge of 20%. Note the price gap below the 200-day SMA, then at $65.11. Shares of Walgreen stayed below its 200-day SMA until Nov. 6, at $66.12, when the stock regained momentum. It then traded as high as $75.14 on Dec. 12, challenging the all-time high just before Tuesday's earnings report.