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Here's the key level to watch in Chipotle after earnings, strategist says

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Trading Nation: Where Chipotle stands heading into earnings

Chipotle shares could be ready to charge higher, according to one strategist.

The stock rose nearly 1% to around $1,520 in after-hours trading on Wednesday following the fast-casual chain's first-quarter earnings report.

Chipotle beat estimates for earnings per share and met revenue expectations, delivering notable increases in both digital and same-store sales.

The strength could carry Chipotle's stock to new heights, Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Wednesday.

"We're looking at this 1,550 level. That was the old high back in February and it was also where it closed [on] Friday," Maley said.

"The key is what does it do after we get this earnings report?" the strategist said. "If it can break above that kind of double-top high in any kind of meaningful fashion, it's going to be incredibly bullish for the stock on a technical basis, so, you'll definitely want to continue to buy the stock."

Investors shouldn't chase it before then, though, Maley said, pointing to Netflix's post-earnings drop on Tuesday.

"Netflix ... was bumping up against a key resistance level and we saw what happened to that stock," he said. "So, see how [Chipotle] reports tonight and then trade tomorrow because it does have some upside potential."

Other fast-food plays may have even more potential, Quint Tatro, chief investment officer at Joule Financial, said in the same "Trading Nation" interview.

Though he avoids buying Chipotle's stock because it "looks overvalued," he expected the company to mention rising food prices in its upcoming report.

"Ultimately, I think that you've got to, if you're focused on this space, look for restaurants and brands that can pass that along to the customer," he said. "Our favorites are McDonald's and Starbucks. We currently own these names in a dividend portfolio and [on] any drop in price, whether it's due to Chipotle's report or anything else, I think we'd be buyers of those stocks."

Disclosure: Joule Financial owns shares of McDonald's and Starbucks.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol will join CNBC's "The Exchange" at 1:15 p.m. ET on Thursday.

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