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.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.