I went out on a limb last week with mixed results.

  • I figured that Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) would move higher the day after its third-quarter report, assuming that everything short of Armageddon was already discounted in the share price. I was wrong. Netflix shocked investors by projecting a lack of profitability early next year as it bankrolls its overseas expansion. Netflix's stock fell 35% on Tuesday, and 28% on the week after inching higher during each of the three next trading days.
  • After consistently trouncing bottom-line expectations over the past two years, it was easy to predict that iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT) would smoke past analyst targets. Done! The Roomba and PackBot maker posted an adjusted profit of $0.38 a share, well above the $0.26 a share that Wall Street was forecasting. Shares of iRobot popped 17% higher on the news.
  • My third and final call was for Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM) to climb on Thursday after posting its quarterly results. I got that one right, too. The leading content-delivery network's stock soared 15% after an encouraging report.

I got two out of three right, though Netflix's 35% slide more than offsets the 17% pop at iRobot and the 15% ascent at Akamai.

Let me once again whip out my trusty, dusty, and occasionally accurate crystal ball to make three calls that may play out over the next few trading days.

1. Groupon's IPO will pop higher on Friday
Daily deals leader Groupon is expected to price its IPO on Thursday night and begin trading the follow day.

A few months ago, suggesting that the Groupon debut would be a hit seemed obvious. The flash sale site's booming popularity had some watchers valuing the company at $20 billion to $30 billion. However, the company's lack of profitability and sketchy accounting metrics forced Groupon to delay its IPO and scale it back dramatically. Groupon is now looking at a valuation closer to $11 billion.

Offering fewer shares at a slightly more realistic valuation may not make Groupon a long-term winner, but it will create the limited supply of shares that will feed well into the market's curious demand. Despite its questionable valuation, Groupon should close higher on Friday.

2. Sirius XM will rise tomorrow
Earnings day has been a volatile quarterly event for Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) investors. There are also some problematic trends heading into tomorrow morning's report. Conversion rates have been softening through 2011. New car sales -- the company's lifeblood of new activations -- have been sluggish. The initial Sirius XM 2.0 channel additions and its first 2.0-ready receiver haven't been impressive.

I still see Sirius XM moving higher after tomorrow morning's report. The stock is trading substantially lower than it was before its previous report three months ago, and that's a good thing. It indicates that Mr. Market's not banking on a blowout quarter. This opens the door to an upside surprise.

A little more color on the better Sirius XM 2.0 receiver that's been recently leaked or continued bottom-line and free cash flow improvement should fuel buy orders after the report.

3. OpenTable will close higher on Wednesday
One of my best tricks to beating the market is finding stocks that perpetually land ahead of the prognosticators.

OpenTable (Nasdaq: OPEN) is a perfect example. The online dining reservations leader has done nothing but trounce Wall Street estimates since going public two years ago. Let's go over OpenTable's performance since it IPO.


EPS est.



Q2 2011




Q1 2011




Q4 2010




Q3 2010




Q2 2010




Q1 2010




Q4 2009




Q3 2009




Q2 2009




Source: Thomson Reuters.

Analysts see OpenTable earning $0.30 a share in tomorrow afternoon's report, ahead of the $0.23 a share it earned a year earlier. It's ambitious, but I would keep betting on OpenTable until it proves mortal.

Along the way, you have a stock that has shed more than half of its peak value on unwarranted chatter of potential competitors and a general sell-off on online companies, including Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO) and OpenTable, that hopped on Groupon's daily deals coattails.

When pessimism is so thick that you can cut it with a steak knife, go with the company that can set you up for dinner tonight at that swanky chophouse that you've been hearing so much about.

If you want to see how these market calls pan out, consider adding SIRIUS XM Radio and OpenTable to My Watchlist to track upcoming news.

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.