Earnings season is in full swing, with huge numbers of companies having already given their latest numbers to investors. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarter reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Let's turn to Teck Resources (NYSE:TCK). The mining company has had an up-and-down time recently, as macroeconomic pressures have given way to optimism about growth prospects around the world. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Teck Resources over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Thursday.

Stats on Teck Resources

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.49

Change from Year-Ago EPS

(53%)

Revenue Estimate

$2.53 billion

Change from Year-Ago Revenue

(14.8%)

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

0

Source: Yahoo Finance.

What will Teck Resources dig up this quarter?
Teck has kept analysts a bit nervous over the past few months, as they've reined in earnings-per-share estimates for full-year 2013 by $0.33. The stock, though, reflects optimism for a turnaround among shareholders, with the shares rising almost 14% since early November.

Teck has had an extremely tough time lately because of its concentration in commodities that have fallen out of favor. For instance, its metallurgical coal resources are highly profitable despite the plunge in coal prices that accompanied the big drop in steel demand. Its Antamina joint venture with BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) is among the largest zinc and copper mines in the world, and it has an interest in a venture with Total (NYSE:TOT) and Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) to develop oil sands in the Athabasca region of Alberta, although high costs have delayed that project.

Still, Teck has done a good job of making the most of those tough conditions. It's expanding Antamina in order to boost production, and while Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) has joined Teck in taking measures to withstand short-term pressure in the metallurgical coal industry, both expect conditions to improve after a weak first half of 2013.

As much as prices of copper, lead, molybdenum, zinc, and coal matter to Teck's short-term earnings, the bigger question is how it anticipates competing against its numerous rivals to find the best mining opportunities in the industry. Look closely at any guidance Teck gives about its future prospects to decide whether it's worth holding onto for the long haul.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Total. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.