It's another make-or-break week for retail amid a heavy slate of earnings and an ongoing trade war.
Home Depot, Nordstrom, Kohl's, Lowe's, Target, Best Buy and Foot Locker are just a few of the big names highlighting the earnings marquee this week, and the options markets expect a few of these companies to make big moves.
The market is predicting a 3% move in either direction for Home Depot, and a 5% move for both Lowe's and Target, and Carter Worth, chief market technician at Cornerstone Macro, said one of those names could break to the downside.
"Home Depot doesn't act well," Worth said Friday on "Options Action." "As the technical expression goes, it's a bit heavy, and I think there's risk going into earnings."
Worth pointed out that compared with the ITB Home Construction ETF, Home Depot has acted very poorly, indeed. Since the September highs, the two names have largely stayed together through the lows and back up to the more recent highs. Since the middle of April, however, Home Depot's momentum has dropped off significantly, while the homebuilders have stayed strong.
"[There was] a lot of correlation, and then the breaking down – and I think that's the risk here – that there's a message. There's wisdom in price, and the market is saying something," Worth said.
According to Worth, beyond the weakness shown by Home Depot relative to the homebuilders, the stock itself has come back to a key level after breaking out from a head-and-shoulders bottom.
"The [recent] faltering here, one could say, 'well, it's just back to a level of support,' but my hunch is something else: that it's too much weakness.
"The weakness has constituted a break in trend, and that bothers me."
As Worth points out, it's not just recent weakness that should give investors pause heading into Home Depot's upcoming earnings report. After the stock reached its newest high in September, it has failed to keep pace with the S&P 500.
"When the stock made a new high [in September] – this is actually a slightly higher high than [January 2018] – it couldn't make a relative high," said Worth. "The relative performance to the market has been tepid at best. That's another warning sign, and my thought is that one should be cautious if one is long going into earnings in Home Depot."
Home Depot was slightly lower Monday.