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Be forewarned, this article isn't for the faint of heart. I'm going to be introducing five stocks that could make huge moves during this earnings season.
But whether those moves are up or down is hard to tell. You see, the reason these stocks are liable to make such moves is because they are heavily shorted. Major news announcements usually have an exaggerated effect on heavily shorted stocks, and earnings announcements definitely qualify as a "major announcement."
In reality, no one can tell with 100% certainty which way these stocks will go. I'll let you know what to look out for, and at the end, I'll offer you access to a special free report on five stocks our analysts think you need to keep an eye on this earnings season.
% of Float Short
|MAKO Surgical (Nasdaq: MAKO )||32%||May 7||$23.7 million||($0.20)|
|ATP Oil & Gas (Nasdaq: ATPG )||42%||May 9*||$178 million||($0.35)|
|Renren (NYSE: RENN )||72%||June 20*||$29.9 million||($0.04)|
|ZAGG (Nasdaq: ZAGG )||45%||May 3||$52.0 million||$0.14|
|SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA )||72%||May 18*||56.9 million euros||0.36 euros|
Sources: E*TRADE, company news releases, and finviz.com. *Earnings date not yet announced; given date is when first-quarter results were released last year.
Fools have lots of confidence in these two
As far as feelings within the broader Foolish community go, both MAKO and SodaStream seem to be favorites to prove the bears wrong.
MAKO, the maker of the RIO System for robotic hip and knee replacements, has a coveted four-star rating from our CAPS community. And there are plenty of reasons to be excited. While shorts are concerned about MAKO's lack of profitability thus far, the company's product has one undeniable trend pushing it forward: an aging demographic with an obesity problem that wants to stay active.
SodaStream, on the other hand, may only have a two-star rating in CAPS, as short-sellers don't believe the company's at-home soda makers are more than just a passing fad. But with strong sales appreciation, backed up with a new system that can purify your water, heat it, cool it, or carbonate it, I wouldn't pit my money against this company.
Be careful with these two...
ZAGG is probably best known for the accessories it offers to iPhone users. Though customers may enjoy what ZAGG has to offer, investors aren't so hot on the stock: It has the lowest rating possible in CAPS, one star. ZAGG's $50 million acquisition of iFrogz was a questionable long-term move, and its brand -- which is incredibly important in this field -- still isn't that strong.
Renren -- dubbed the "Facebook of China" -- is another Fool un-favorite, as it too has a one-star rating. Renren faces stiff in-country competition from Tencent, has a confusing corporate structure, and will always be at the mercy of a somewhat unfriendly Chinese government. Should the company become the leading social networker in China, demonstrate shareholder-friendly policies, and avoid the ire of Beijing, it could be a big winner. But for now, there are still lots of question marks.
Sitting on the fence
Finally, we have ATP Oil & Gas, for which both bulls and bears have convincing arguments. While the company is heavily shorted, it enjoys a four-star rating among our community members. Bulls believe that with oil prices rising and reserves waiting to be extracted from the Gulf of Mexico, the company stands to make a killing.
At the same time, the company doesn't have the cleanest balance sheet, and is undergoing a secondary offering on the market to raise money -- which is rarely ideal for existing shareholders. Time will tell how this story plays out.
Where to look this earnings season
Now that you have a better view of five stocks that could be making big moves this earnings season, I suggest you continue your research. Earnings season is a crucial time for every investor to take the pulse of companies on his or her watchlist.
Here at The Motley Fool, we've put together a special guide: "5 Stocks Investors Need to Watch This Earnings Season." The report will give you insights into how to play this pivotal time in the year, but get your copy before its too late, absolutely free!