I was skeptical when Yahoo! announced that Jeff Macke would be co-hosting its new online show "Breakout." I'll admit I made a few wisecracks. But tuning in to the show for the first time yesterday, I have to say, I was impressed.
Granted, it was just a two-minute segment, but Macke made a pretty interesting observation. First he trotted out the chart for SUPERVALU
Next, he looked at Hasbro
So we've got SUPERVALU with a significant beat and a 17% pop and Hasbro with a significant miss and a 3% drop. Something doesn't quite add up here.
Macke connected the dots by suggesting that there is still too much pessimism out there among investors. That an earnings beat would cause that kind of excitement, while a miss would be basically shrugged off seems to show that investors have prepared themselves for a disappointing earnings season.
Macke's a trader. I'm not. So I'm not going to run with an idea like that and "buy into earnings season" or anything like that.
However, this is a great reminder of the power of expectations in general. When Christmas rolls around, I like to tell everyone that I'm boycotting giving gifts. That way, they'll likely be happy with whatever I get them. Even if it's second-hand Yanni CD (OK, maybe that's an extreme example).
With stocks, we can get a pretty good gauge of investor expectations based on valuation. For instance, when I look at a company like Netflix
On the flip side, we've got a company like Cisco
To be sure, most companies on investors' bad side have earned their way to that spot. But given the potential for gains that these stocks have, if investor sentiment starts to change for the better, they are a prime hunting ground for many value investors.
Want to take a closer look at the stocks I've mentioned? Add them to your Foolish watchlist.