Whole Foods Market (WFM) is the largest U.S. chain of organic and natural foods supermarkets. On July 31 Whole Foods’ stock fell 88 cents after fiscal third-quarter earnings of 41 cents beat estimates of 39 cents but failed to meet revenue estimates.
Despite the disappointment, the company delivered top-line growth of 10.4% year-over-year according to Zacks Investment Research. Even though management lowered its comparable store sales and guidance for 2014, Standard & Poor’s estimates fiscal 2014 earnings at $1.53, up from $1.47, and sees EPS rising 12% to $1.71 in FY ’15.
The stock has fallen 45% from its high of over $65 made last October. But yesterday, even in the face of a broad market decline, WFM rose 59 cents, challenging its 50-day moving average at $38.77.
A trading gap exists between $47.87 and $39.48, which was partially filled on June 13 at $42.90. That gap could serve as a magnet, attracting buyers back to the $48-plus area. And call options have increased by four-times average volume while stock volume also increased dramatically as the stock advanced.
WFM not only appears “sold out,” but if it can break above its 50-day moving average it could run back to between its bearish resistance line at $45 and the 200-day moving average now at $49.77. This stock is a speculation, but a speculation on one of the best-managed companies in its sector that could be held as an attractive long-term investment.