What happened

Shares of oil carrier Nordic American Tankers (NYSE:NAT) jumped 13.5% in early trading Monday before retracing to enjoy a still-healthy 9.4% gain as of 12:35 p.m. EDT. There's no news to explain this move ... yet.

But soon there may be.

Red foredeck of a tanker ship.

Nordic American earnings are on deck. Get it? Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Nordic American Tankers stock is expected to report Q3 earnings on Friday, Nov. 2 -- the tail end of this week.

Analysts aren't looking for any hugely good news -- a $0.12-per-share loss is forecast. But compared to the $0.34 per share that Nordic American Tankers lost one year ago, even that would be an improvement.

Sales will be up nearly 9% year over year if they come in at the expected level of $25.7 million.

Now what

Investors bidding up Nordic American shares today may be positioning themselves in hopes of an "earnings beat" -- but even if it arrives, the news still can't be great. According to analysts who follow the stock, Nordic American Tanker is almost certain to post a full-year loss at the end of 2018 -- $0.47 per share. Sales for the full year are expected to decline 23% to less than $119 million.

Since the company is unprofitable and laden with debt, I don't see Nordic American Tanker as a particularly attractive stock, even if it does beat earnings on Friday.

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.