What happened

Container shipping company Seaspan Corporation (NYSE:ATCO) saw its stock torpedoed in Wednesday trading -- down 10.5% as of 2:15 p.m. EDT. Worse, no one seems to know why it happened.

So what

There wasn't an analyst downgrade in sight today, nor any new sell ratings, either. Despite this being earnings season, and other companies reporting good and bad news to every side, Seaspan didn't report anything today.

Come to think of it, though, maybe that is actually our first clue as to why Seaspan is sinking today. Yesterday, as you may or may not have heard, Seaspan confirmed that it will be reporting earnings -- next week, on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 30. Could it be that event that has investors feeling so nervous today?

Containership by cranes at port

Seaspan stock is selling off. Should you load up -- or unload it ahead of earnings? Image source: Getty Images.

According to Yahoo! Finance estimates, analysts are looking for Seaspan to report $0.25 per share in profits next week for its fiscal third quarter, on $293.2 million in revenue. That's a tall order for Seaspan to fulfill. One year ago, Q3 2016 revenue amounted to only $211 million, and profits were just $0.18 per share.

The fact that Wall Street has built nearly 40% growth in both sales and earnings into its valuation estimates for Seaspan may make the stock vulnerable to a sell-off if those earnings expectations don't pan out.

Now what

The good news here is that investors may not have to wait all the way until next week to get some indication of how well (or badly) Seaspan's results will look. Rival container shipper Costamare is due out with its own Q3 results after market close today. If Costamare's earnings look something less than dreadful, there's every possibility that the money Seaspan shareholders lost today they'll win back tomorrow.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.