(Corrects story originally published Thursday to say that Ensco releases earnings Feb. 18.)
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This is one of the most exciting earnings seasons in recent memory. When deciding what to write about I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony. I sometimes don't know where to begin.
Before you are "bitten" by that graphic metaphor, let me introduce you to two companies that are about to step into the earnings confessional and reveal both their recent quarterly results and their future expectations. It's the guidance, those great expectations, that can drive a stock to new heights.
On Thursday Coinstar (CSTR) will release its latest results after the market closes. The consensus estimate of analysts is for revenue of $580.19 million on earnings of 73 cents per share. This would mean a 27% drop in EPS from the year-ago quarter yet an 11.5% sales growth (in revenue).CSTR provides automated retail solutions primarily in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The company owns self-service Redbox kiosks that enable consumers to rent or purchase movies and video games, and self-service coin-counting kiosks where consumers can convert their coin to cash, a gift card, or an E-certificate. It also looks to identify and evaluate building new self-service concepts in the automated retail space, which includes coffee, refurbished electronics, and photo self-service concepts. As of Dec. 31, 2011, the company had 35,400 Redbox kiosks in 29,300 locations and 20,200 coin-counting kiosks in 19,900 locations primarily in supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants, financial institutions, convenience stores, and restaurants. The company was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. CFO Galen C. Smith joined Coinstar in June 2009 and assumed the role of corporate VP, finance and treasurer in January 2010, overseeing corporate financial planning, treasury, mergers and acquisitions and investor relations. In May 2011, he became the senior vice president, finance at Redbox leading financial operations in addition to business negotiations, including a digital joint venture with Verizon (VZ) and studio deals with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Prior to joining Coinstar, Smith was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley (MS) in the Consumer and Retail Investment Banking Group. Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements. It's this kind of leadership that brings on joint ventures with a super telecom like Verizon and signals a corporate determination to innovate new ways to create recurring streams of revenue. Analysts have underestimated (in my opinion) the potential of these kind of stocks whose time has come, which I highlighted in a recent article on this theme.