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TheStreet Open House

3 Earnings Trades for the Week

MINNEAPOLIS ( Stockpickr) -- Once again the market is showing its mettle. Faced with geopolitical risk and a market wanting to sell off, stocks have rallied in the early going of this week. The Dow and S&P 500 indices broke through key psychological barriers.

More incredible are the big moves in stocks that have announced earnings.

Companies releasing results are swinging 10% to 15% -- in some cases more. If you are trading based on pre-earnings analysis, you can make some fast money. Of course, you can also lose money, so let's take a moment to review the play book -- or at least how I would go about things with this approach.

For starters, these trades are short-term and short-term only. Place the trades in advance of earnings and then sell during the first full day of trading after earnings are released. If you are on the wrong side of a trade, sell immediately using aftermarket trading to quickly exit a position.

Related: 3 Earnings Short-Squeeze Opportunities

If you are on the right side of a trade, lock in your profits close to the end of the trading session. To be more exact, you can specify an exit point that is automatically triggered should the stock hit your stop price.

Stick to that plan and you should do pretty well. The volatility and the big moves on your winners will more than offset your losses. At the end of the day, you can make 5% to 10% per week, potentially doubling your money in less than three months.

This week we have made three winning trades and one loser. The first winner was Baidu (BIDU). The Chinese search engine blew away analyst estimates and the stock jumped well over 10%.

Broadcom (BRCM) was priced to perfection and a fairly blasé report sent shares tumbling. A short of that stock in advance of the news would have netted approximately 10%.

Brightpoint (CELL) reported strong results, and the stock spiked more than 23% in afterhours trading.

The big loser in the group was Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR), which I recommended betting against. The company reported strong earnings and optimistic guidance for the future. The stock shot up more than 16% in the after-hours market.

Place a mythical $10,000 on each trade and you gross just over $3,400. Against the $40,000 at risk, and the return is a cool 9% to the upside.

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