It's time to hunker down, Fools. If you own shares of one (or more) of the three companies covered here, prepare for a week of volatility. 

While not an absolute certainty, wild moves are on the menu: all three of the companies are reporting earnings in the week ahead, and all three are heavily shorted -- meaning they have lots of investors betting against their short-term success. If you don't believe this can lead to volatility, just look at the three stocks from last week, which moved an average of 11% following their quarterly releases.

But I don't think anyone should try and make a quick buck on these moves. There's no telling whether shares of these three companies will go up or down. Instead, I think if you already own shares of Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK)J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), or El Pollo Loco (NASDAQ:LOCO), then you should be prepared to separate the noise from what really matters. Check out the slideshow below to figure out how.(NASDAQ:LOCO)

Photo: Shake Shack, El Pollo Loco

Brian Stoffel owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.