Grocery-chain operator Winn-Dixie Stores turned in a fiscal first-quarter loss of $790,000, or 1 penny per share, this morning. Winn-Dixie, which was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, suffered a loss of $24.6 million, or 17 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Net revenue for the period edged higher, rising from $1.61 billion to $1.62 billion. Analysts were expecting the company to post a quarterly loss of 23 cents per share.

Gross margins for the 3-month period climbed to 27.5% from 26.4% in the previous year, due to cost cuts at distribution facilities and decreased promotional spending. Gross margin in fiscal 2008 is expected to slightly outpace the fiscal 2007 results.

The shares of WINN jumped atop their 10-day and 20-day moving averages on October 16 and have since risen along these 2 short-term trendlines, but the stock's 10-week moving average looms overhead.

The stock has plenty of short interest to fuel potential gains in today's trading; at WINN's average daily volume, it would take nearly a week's worth of trading days for all the existing shorted shares to be repurchased. Meanwhile, option traders are optimistic toward the stock's prospects. Its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio is 0.37, as calls nearly triple puts among near-term options. In the front-month series, the most popular contract is the out-of-the-money November 20 call.