What happened

Shares of space tech company Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) spiked sharply higher in Monday trading, and remain up a good 10.1% as of 2:45 p.m. EDT.

Presumably, investor excitement over the successful conclusion of SpaceX's rocket trip to the International Space Station and back has something to do with the enthusiasm for space tech stocks like Maxar today. (Virgin Galactic is also up nearly 7%, and other space stocks including Boeing and Iridium Communications are also trading higher).

But if you ask me, earnings have more to do with Maxar's rise.

Rising red stock arrow representing a stock going up drawn on a yellow background

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Maxar is expected to release its second-quarter 2020 numbers on Wednesday after close of trading.  

Analysts are looking for a mixed quarter, with pro forma profits coming in at a respectable $0.32 per share, but the numbers as calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) might be quite a bit worse -- a $0.69 per share loss, according to predictions tallied by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Sales are expected to be $411 million, down 5% from a year ago.  

Now what

On the one hand, that all sounds pretty grim -- falling sales and a big GAAP loss. On the other hand, though, with the bar set this low, I guess the chances for Maxar surprising to the upside increase proportionally. With barely 48 hours to go before the news comes out, investors are betting on an earnings beat at Maxar.

Tune in Wednesday to find out if they get one.

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.