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Drugstore Stock Set for Another Leg Lower

Emma Duncan

Drugstore name Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) is quickly erasing yesterday's post-earnings gains, 8.4% lower at $7.17 at last check. Today's pullback is far from unusual for the shares, however, with the stock within one standard deviation of a key trendline -- one which holds historically bearish implications. 

Specifically, the security just yesterday rose to within one standard deviation of its 180-day moving average, after a lengthy stretch below the trendline. This signal has flashed five times in the past few years, per Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, resulting in an average 21-day loss of 9.4%, with not a single one of the returns positive. A similar drop from current levels would send RAD down even further, to $6.50 by this time next month.

Daily RAD with 180 MA
Daily RAD with 180 MA

Now is a good time to bet on another leg lower for Rite Aid via the stock's put options. The security's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 89% registers in the low 21st percentile of its annual range. This means that near-term options premiums are pricing in unusually low volatility expectations.

Meanwhile, short interest on RAD tanked 13% during the most recent reporting period, but still accounts for more than 26% of the stock's total available float. This means, at the equity's average pace of trading, it would take short sellers one full week to buy back their bearish bets.

From a technical viewpoint, Rite Aid stock has been on a steep trend lower since its early 2017 highs. Now drowning in a 71% year-over-year deficit, a large contributor has been not only the aforementioned 180-day trendline, but the $10 ceiling as well. In fact, just yesterday an earnings-related breakout attempt was capped by both layers of resistance.