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Dunkin’ is crushing Starbucks this year. Here’s why that could change

In the cold brew war between Dunkin’ and Starbucks, which is the better play?

A major fight is brewing between Dunkin’ Brands and Starbucks, but only one is emerging victorious. Over the past two years, Dunkin’ shares have rocketed around 50 percent higher, while Starbucks has fallen more than 10 percent.

Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, says Dunkin’s massive rally could be circling the drain.

“It’s up 25 percent just since April, so it’s had this huge move, and it’s getting overbought,” Maley told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Monday. “It looks like its upside here at least on a technical basis is somewhat limited.”

Dunkin’s surge has pushed its relative strength index above the 70 threshold several times this year, a level that typically indicates overbought conditions. It currently trades 13 percent above its 200-day moving average.

“Starbucks, on the other hand, it’s been stuck in a sideways range since 2015 — between $52 and $63, $63.50. It dropped below that range last month,” explained Maley. “If it can rally back above $52, that should give it a lot of momentum to shoot it back up into the middle of the range.”

Its shares broke below $52 just over a month ago. Before then, the stock had not traded beneath that level since November 2016.

Seattle-based Starbucks looks to be cooling off after a hot run in its early days, according to Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global.

“They emerged really, really big, and they’re actually starting to look like a very, very mature company,” Sanchez told “Trading Nation” on Monday. “The last two years have really been a sign of just far too much market penetration and now you’re talking about having to close a series of unproductive stores.”

The coffee chain recently announced plans to close 150 underperforming locations in 2019. The company also saw two high-profile executive departures last month in CEO Howard Schultz and CFO Scott Maw.

“The fundamentals here still don’t add up in the Starbucks play,” added Sanchez. “Dunkin, even though it has run a long way, fundamentally still has the wind in its back.”

Dunkin’ Brands is up 10 percent in the year to date, while Starbucks has fallen 10 percent.