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Big earnings numbers can trigger a buying frenzy in a top-performing name, and they can spur a selloff when a firm's fundamental results fall short. But all of that volatility isn't random. In other words, there's a way to harness big moves in earnings season stocks in 2013.
The fact is, earnings themselves don't matter much. Instead, whether a stock pops or drops comes down to whether the firm
surprises Wall Street with its results; after all, expectations are already priced into shares in the weeks and months leading up to an earnings call. Firms that surprise analysts and investors tend to do it repeatedly, so by focusing on names that are already predisposed to besting expectations, we can spot some interesting buying opportunities.
This quarter is already shaping up to be a strong surprise quarter overall. Of the 284 S&P 500 stocks that have already reported their performance for the quarter, more than 75% have bested analysts' estimates.
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Some sectors are more predisposed to earnings surprises than others. Consumer stapes, industrials and health care are getting some of the biggest price moves from their earnings beats. Information technology stocks are showing investors the worst this quarter.
With all that in mind, here's a look at
five "serial surprisers" that have upcoming earnings dates. These five stocks have historically tended to give investors positive earnings surprises quarter after quarter -- and they're stacked in the sectors that are paying off the most right now.
Here's everything you need to know.