Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Fellow Fool Morgan Housel wrote an excellent piece this week on what it takes to become, feel, and stay rich throughout life. It isn't about structured annuities or finding the winning investment; rather, it's about exploring what it takes to make you personally happy -- above and beyond material needs.

That kind of perspective is always important to remember, but it's going to be particularly important for shareholders in the three companies mentioned here. These stocks are poised to make outsized moves this week, because each one is reporting earnings, and each has a large number of investors shorting the stock.

We here at The Motley Fool don't believe in get-rich-quick schemes or trying to time the market, and this article isn't advocating that. Instead, it's giving a gentle warning that turbulent times might be ahead if you hold shares of these companies. Remember, focusing on your long term and keeping the kind of perspective Morgan talked about is what'll led to greater financial independence in your life.

Here's what you can expect in the coming week:


% of Shares Short


Expected Revenue (millions)

Expected EPS






U.S. Steel (NYSE:X)





Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS)





Sources:, E*Trade.

AK Steel
Shareholders in this steel company -- which focuses primarily on providing rolled steel to the automotive, industrial, and construction markets -- have enjoyed a nice ride lately. Shares more than tripled between April 2013 and the end of the year, but short-sellers believe there's reason to be pessimistic now.

The single biggest reason shares of AK Steel have risen so much over that time is that the company has been able to continually bump up the prices of its products. Before 2013, demand for steel was light, which led to the bottom of the commodity pricing cycle. But the company obviously sees reason to believe customers will have no problem paying higher prices, as demand has presumably picked up.

Short-sellers would beg to differ, as they believe the run-up has gone too far, and that even if the company meets 2014 earnings expectations, it still will be trading for an expensive 43 times earnings.

U.S. Steel

Source: U.S. Steel. 

The story isn't all that different with U.S. Steel. Like AK Steel, U.S. Steel has been dealing with light demand and low commodity prices for a while now. Unlike AK, U.S. Steel shares rose by "only" 80% in the back half of 2013.

Of course, a rise like that is nothing to be disappointed with, but it points to the fact that U.S. Steel is almost four times the size of AK in market cap, and has lots of fixed costs -- especially pension costs -- that give investors pause.

Moving forward, lots of short-sellers believe that the run-up of the past six months has been overdone, and that the steel market isn't as strong as share prices suggest. It should be noted, however, that if U.S. Steel meets 2014's expectations, it is currently trading for just 18 times those earnings, a significant discount to AK Steel.

Cirrus Logic
This company makes integrated circuits for both the consumer and industrial markets. But Cirrus is best known as one of the key suppliers to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and many of the company's gadgets.


Over the years, that's been a great thing, as revenue has climbed from $341 million three years ago to just over $860 million today. But Apple's decision to court the lower-end market with its iPhone 5c -- as well as the fact that it opted not to use Cirrus for as many components in its iPad Air -- makes the relationship between the two just as much a liability as it is an asset for shareholders.

While shareholders should focus on the relationship with Apple, they should also be aware that, over the long run, Cirrus' attempts at broadening its customer base will be crucial.

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.