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10 Diversified Stocks to Buy Ahead of Earnings

10. Red Hat (RHI)makes open source software and services, including the Red Hat Linux operating system. Red Hat will announce third-quarter fiscal 2012 results on Dec. 19.

Net income for the quarter is estimated at $51.55 million, or 26 cents per share, compared to $39.06 million, or 20 cents per share, in the same quarter prior fiscal, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Sales are seen at $289.6 million, an increase of 23% from $235.6 million recorded in the earlier-year period.

Operating profit for the quarter is seen increasing 72% to $65.38 million from $37.96 million in the same quarter prior fiscal year. Meanwhile, return on equity is seen expanding to 8.85% from 8.38%, while return on assets is seen at 5.60%, compared to 5.00% earlier. Gross margin is pegged at 84.09% from 83.13% earlier.

Of the 25 analysts covering the stock, 68% recommend a buy and 24% suggest a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 10.1% to $50.90 from current levels over the next 12 months.
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