Below is a brief recap on each of the top-volume, news-driven movers in Thursday's after hours, taking a look at specific stocks' after hours movement and how that trade may offer insight into potential floor supports, ceilings and trading ranges that could develop in Friday's pre-market and early regular session.
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) edged 2.1% lower to 47.30 in Thursday's evening action after beating Q1 expectations but also guiding for 2012 EPS results just below the Street view. SBUX was a volatile mover at the start of after hours trade, swinging between a high of 49.20 and a low of 46.91. It eventually settled in a modest downside range between 48 and 47.18. A pre-market open Friday may have potential near the 47.50 to 47.20 range. SBUX just favors reversing its session-to-session performance over the last eight years. The stock has crossed narrower regular session closing levels following 18 of its last 32 after hours earnings events. Looking deeper into the data, SBUX has posted an earnings-related decline 15 times, narrowing or reversing that move 12 times, or 80% of the time. The strong reversal pattern in place on SBUX shares has us wary of betting too heavily on added downside Friday, but with the stock sitting close to its 52-week high today and some bearish guidance from the company, we'd look to play some downside weakness at the start. Shorts may want to peg potential entry points at 48 to 47.50, levels that stood as a ceiling through Thursday's after hours and where there may be room to ride negative runs back toward the lower-47s.
Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) slumped 7.4% to 20.70 in Thursday's night trade after meeting Q4 expectations and issuing Q1 guidance below estimates. JNPR swooned to an early after-hours low of 20.03 before popping back as high as 21.42. It settled between 21 and 20.41 through the late first-half and second-half of after hours action. A pre-market open Friday may have potential in the 20.75 to 20.40 area. JNPR has seen more aggressive next-day percentage regular session movement following 17 of its last 31 earnings-driven after hours trades (55% of the time). Looking deeper into the performance data, JNPR has recorded an after hours decline in 16 quarters, adding to its evening declines in next-day trade in nine quarters (56% of the time). The consistent widening pattern in place both broadly and to the downside over the last eight years would have us looking at a short play in the shares of JNPR Friday. Early shorts may want to target potential entry points at 21.40 to 20.82, an area that stood as a consistent ceiling through Thursday's after hours and where there may be room to catch downside trade back toward the mid- to lower-20s.
Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ:RVBD) tumbled 13.6 to 25.84 in Thursday's after hours trade after beating on Q4 but also issuing guidance below expectations. RVBD dropped to negative levels between 29.15 and 27.88 through the first-half of night trade. It saw sharp selling into the mid-session, sliding to a low of 24.75 before steadying between 26.26 and 25.38 into the second-half of the evening. A pre-market open Friday may have potential surrounding the 26 area. Sellers were most active Thursday night between 27.50 and 26.24, levels where a potential near-term ceiling level could form for shorts to eye.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.