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How to Invest Ahead of Earnings Reports: Costco, Kroger, Pandora

Editor's note: After posting the Pandora analysis, we learned that the company shifted its earnings cycle, but the profile is still valid.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Today's pre-earnings buy-and-trade profiles include familiar big box retailers, niche mall shops and a mining company, that report pre- and post-market Thursday and before the opening bell on Friday.

A detailed technical analysis chart about these stocks follows these profiles. I also explain my number-crunching terms there.

Costco Wholesale (COST) ($116.65, down 2% YTD): Analysts expect the members-only wholesale retailer to report earnings of $1.17 a share before the opening bell on Thursday. The stock set a 2014 intraday low at $109.50 on Feb. 4 and is just above its 200-day simple moving average at $115.97 and is above all five key moving averages shown in today's 'Crunching the Numbers' table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week modified moving average at $111.84. Weekly and annual value levels are $112.83 and $112.00 with monthly and semiannual risky levels at $123.40 and $126.15.

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Foot Locker (FL) ($42.79, up 3.3% YTD): Analysts expect the mall-based footwear retailer to report earnings of 75 cents a share premarket on Friday. The stock set an all-time intraday high at $42.98 on Tuesday. The stock is above all five key moving averages shown in today's table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $40.27. My semiannual and monthly value levels are $40.70 and $40.27 with quarterly and semiannual risky levels at $46.26 and $46.78.

Joy Global (JOY) ($55.29, down 5.5% YTD): Analysts expect the mining equipment maker to report earnings of 64 cents per share before the opening bell on Thursday. The stock set its 2014 intraday low at $51.17 on Feb. 3 and today it's above its 200-day SMA at $53.51. The stock is above the three daily moving averages but is below the two weekly moving averages. The weekly chart is neutral with a rising 12x3x3 weekly slow stochastic and thus the weekly chart shifts to positive with a weekly close above its five-week MMA at $55.32. My weekly value level is $54.47 with a monthly risky level at $59.08.

Kroger (KR - Get Report) ($42.39, up 7.2% YTD): Analysts expect the grocery chain to report earnings of 73 cents a share before the opening bell on Thursday. The stock set its 2014 intraday low at $35.13 on Feb. 5 then set its 2014 high at $42.98 on Tuesday well above its 200-day SMA at $38.68. Kroger is above all five key moving averages shown in today's table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $39.59. Quarterly and annual value levels are $38.90 and $36.32 with a monthly risky level at $45.53.

Pandora (P - Get Report) ($39.17, up 47.3% YTD): At the time of publication, I did not have an EPS estimate from analysts. We since learned that the company shifted its earnings cycle, but the profile is still valid. The stock set a new all-time intraday high at $39.68 on Tuesday and is above four of five key moving averages shown in today's table. Pandora has not been publicly traded long enough to have a 200-week SMA. The weekly chart is positive but overbought with its five-week MMA at $35.52. My monthly value level is $37.81 with a weekly risky level at $43.68.

Children's Place (PLCE) ($55.10, down 3.3% YTD): Analysts expect the specialty retailer of children clothes from newborns to 12 years of age to report earnings of 94 cents a share before the open on Thursday. The stock set its 2014 intraday low at $50.25 on Feb. 5 and is now above its 200-day SMA at $54.32. The stock is above all five key moving averages shown in today's table. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $54.34. Quarterly and annual value levels are $52.92 and $51.32 with a monthly pivot at $54.68 and semiannual risky levels at $67.92 and $69.16.

Staples (SPLS) ($13.47, down 15.2% YTD): Analysts expect the office supplies retailer to report earnings of 39 cents a share before the opening bell on Thursday. The stock set its 2014 intraday low at $12.61 on Feb. 25 and is below four of the five key moving averages in today's table. Staples is above its 21-day SMA at $13.20. The weekly chart is negative but oversold with its five-week MMA at $13.70. My weekly value level is $11.24 with a semiannual pivot at $13.67 with quarterly and annual risky levels at $14.53 and $15.54.

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