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Five Must-Watch Earnings Releases

Stocks in this article: AIG PCS XOM CHK X

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We made it through this week, arguably one of the biggest weeks in technology earnings.

As more companies report, the texture of the marketplace changes and surprises tend to become more important. Many of the biggest moves occur after everyone thinks they have the market and earnings figured out, only to find that surprises should never surprise investors.

I have included five companies that I believe are must watch releases for the week of Oct. 29. I expect to trade any of the five, but of course, my longer time frame views have nearly zero impact on any given day, especially during earnings season. X Chart X data by YCharts

United States Steel (X)

Background:US Steel produces and sells steel mill products in North America and Europe. The company operates in three segments: Flat-rolled products, US Steel Europe and tubular products. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the company was founded in 1901. US Steel trades an average of 9.9 million shares per day with a marketcap of $3 billion.

52 Week Range: $17.67 to $32.52

Book Value: $24.48

Price To Book: 0.9

US Steel is forecast to record much lower third-quarter earnings when it reports premarket Oct. 30.

The consensus estimate is looking for a break-even, a drop from 72 cents a year earlier. Estimates range from a loss of 25 cents per share to a gain of 33 cents per share. It's one of the biggest ranges I have reviewed this earnings season. TheStreet's Tim Melvin writes about US Steel A Value Investor Goes Macro.

Analysts are taking as much of a stand as many candidates in Washington typically demonstrate on important issues. A hold can mean anything, but you may be well-advised to consider holds as glorified sell ratings. Lately, 13 out of 22 rate the company a hold, while 6 recommend buying and 3 recommend selling.

One out of 22 analysts now rate US Steel a strong buy down from two analysts a month ago. Compared to three months ago, fewer analysts are rating this company as a strong buy.

Shareholders have not been rewarded for their patience, and shares fell 12% in the last year; however, analysts have placed the average target price at $25.71.

Based on technicals US Steel has important attributes. The 200 day moving average is falling, and the chart is in a trading range. It's hard to get excited about heavy X with the current political landscape.

On the other hand, shareholders receive 20 cents a share in annual dividends. The yield based on a recent price is 0.9%. If you can pick up shares under $20, the yield improves dramatically, and the payout rate is low enough to expect the dividend to continue.

The short interest is not small for sure. When more than one out of every four shares available to trade is short, short sellers are smelling blood. The current float short is 27.3%. Short interest is not shrinking either. With more than 40 million shares short, there are only three periods in the last year with (slightly) higher short levels. In "short", the smart money is heavily betting against US Steel.

X Revenue Quarterly Chart X Revenue Quarterly data by YCharts

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