Increased spending on consumer goods is key to economic growth and employment, so it follows that seeing which big companies analysts feel bullish about provides direction as to where spending -- and possibly job growth -- is most concentrated.
With that in mind, we ran a screen on the consumer goods sector for names reporting quarterly earnings next week. We then screened for the largest names with net short covering month over month.
Quarterly earnings reports can be big movers for stock prices. When a company fails to meet the market's expectations, its stock will usually drop to discount in the new information. If earnings exceed expectations, a higher stock price will usually be the reward.
Because short-sellers have been covering their positions (a sign they believe the company has more upside than downside to price in), we can infer that the financial community is feeling good about their earning prospects.
Business section: Investing ideas
But what do you think? From the four names below, what can you infer about the sector's growth? (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)
Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.
Kapitall's Rebecca Lipman does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Short data sourced from Yahoo! Finance. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.