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Bull Signal Might Mean Major Upside for This Retail Stock

Lillian Currens

Retail concern Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) has been relatively range-bound since its post-earnings bull gap in early March, trading between support in the $25 area and resistance around $27.50. However, ANF -- already up nearly 30% year-to-date -- could be ready to rocket higher, if history is any indicator. 

The stock is up 1% at $25.76, at last glance, and just came within one standard deviation of its 40-day moving average, following a lengthy stretch above that trendline. This signal has flashed six times before, per data from Schaeffer's Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. ANF was positive one month later 67% of the time, averaging a 10.8% gain. A similar move would put the equity above the $28.50 level -- an area it hasn't traversed since its mid-August highs. 

ANF Chart Apr 11

Despite ANF's recent behavior on the charts, analysts are still approaching the stock with caution. Currently, eight analysts give it a "hold" rating, and three give it a "sell" or worse. There's not a single "buy" to be seen, which means the door is wide open for upgrades, should this positive price action continue. What's more, the consensus 12-month price target of $24.50 is a 4.5% discount to current levels. 

Short sellers continue to circle Abercrombie, too. Short interest rose 15.6% in the last two reporting periods, and now accounts for a solid quarter of the stock's available float. At ANF's average pace of trading, it would take over a week to cover these pessimistic positions, which could put even more wind at the equity's back. 

Considering this, now might be the time to bet on Abercrombie & Fitch stock's next leg up with options. ANF's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 40% stands higher than only 3% of all other reading from the past year. This means that near-term options are pricing in low volatility expectations of late.