The new earnings season is about to begin, but a few companies on off-quarter fiscal years are just now getting around to reporting their quarterly results. OMNOVA Solutions (NYSE:OMN) is about to release its quarterly earnings report. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarterly 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.

OMNOVA is a maker of specialty chemicals, and with products running from laminates and other materials for residential construction purposes to performance-based chemical products for a wide range of industries that includes the oil and gas sector, the company is hoping to take advantage of improving conditions in those industries. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with OMNOVA Solutions over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Wednesday.

Stats on OMNOVA Solutions

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.08

Change From Year-Ago EPS

(64%)

Revenue Estimate

$258.3 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

(6.4%)

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

2

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will OMNOVA Solutions finally beat estimates this quarter?
Analysts have cut their views on OMNOVA substantially in recent months, slashing their earnings-per-share consensus for the most recent quarter by more than half and chopping $0.13 per share from their full-year fiscal 2013 calls. The stock hasn't reacted badly, however, rising nearly 10% during the first three months of 2013.

OMNOVA hasn't had a lot of luck lately in converting on its massive opportunities. Last quarter, the company missed estimates by a large margin as it cited poor demand from Europe and in the products it makes for the paper industry. Although CEO Kevin McMullen said things would improve, he believed that it could take until the fiscal second quarter before those improvements really started to take hold.

But OMNOVA has plenty of potential to take off from here. On one hand, the housing industry has finally started to recover more strongly, and OMNOVA's major customers in the space have benefited. Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW), which gets specialty chemicals from OMNOVA, has soared as demand for its paint products rises in an improving market, and similar news from other customers should help OMNOVA as well.

On the other hand, the energy industry also has a lot of growth potential. Oil-services companies Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) and Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) both have seen a lot of demand in recent years, with Schlumberger dominating the entire global industry while Halliburton has a strong domestic presence. Although weak natural-gas prices have held back those services providers, OMNOVA should benefit when prices get closer to normal.

In its quarterly report, OMNOVA's first-quarter numbers won't be nearly as important as its future guidance. If the long-awaited turnaround for the company gets delayed further, then disappointed investors will likely punish OMNOVA's shares.

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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 Halliburton and Sherwin-Williams. 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.