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5 Stocks to Trade Off of Earnings

Stocks in this article: HOV HOFT SHFL MTN VRNT

MINNEAPOLIS ( Stockpickr) -- It was a rough week for stocks, but within the tempest was a calm harbor for a handful of stocks reporting earnings results last week. Names such as Daktronics (DAKT), Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) and Joy Global (JOYG) moved higher thanks to impressive reports.

For those having difficulty determining the direction of the current market, profits can be made by executing a simple strategy of trading stocks set to release earnings reports. My objective here is to provide snapshot of those companies and the likelihood that they will beat or miss earnings estimates, with the ultimate goal of anticipating the direction in which the stocks will head after their reports.

The stock market is facing tremendous headwinds, including a slowing economy in the midst of disinterest in pumping more money into the system. Fiscal stimulus may be needed, but the likelihood of getting governmental dollars into the economy at a time of massive debts is unlikely. In addition, the Federal Reserve has announced an ending to its quantitative easing program.

Related: 5 Strength Plays for June's Weak Market

The economy, then, is left to its own devices, good or bad. The bottom line for me is that the current environment is horrible for long-term stock investment. Trading is the way to go, and trading companies posting earnings is a great game plan for future success.

Here are five names to trade in advance of earnings reports this week.

Hovnanian Enterprises

How homebuilder Hovnanian (HOV) retains any value is beyond me. The company is bleeding red ink and operates in a market that is far from healthy. Surprisingly, there are enough buyers of this stock to give Hovnanian a market cap of $225 million.

That is impressive considering the staggering losses this company has endured. Those who think the end of the housing crisis is near have not been paying attention to Hovnanian's results over the last three quarters. During that time, the company has missed Wall Street earnings estimates -- and by a wide, wide margin.

So not only is the company losing money, but it is losing more than analysts expect. Again, why does anyone own this stock?

For the current quarter, the company is expected to lose 51 cents per share. I would look for it to lose even more. Perhaps this latest miss will send shares to the Pink Sheets. This stock is worth only pennies, in my opinion.

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