The company beat estimates before one-time charges but still managed to tumble as overly optimistic investors found themselves unimpressed by the metal miner's numbers. Alcoa's slide proved to be a disappointment for us; the stock was one of the five that made last week's Rocket Stocks list.
Rocket stocks, our weekly list of beaten-down stocks with near-term growth catalysts and long-term growth potential, have had a slow start in 2010 after a phenomenal year in 2009. In the trailing 26 weeks, our picks managed to rake in 61.09% gains, outperforming the
index by 40.28%.
But with a slew of stocks scheduled to spill their quarterly numbers to eager investors this earnings season, we'll be presented with plenty of opportunities to make some catalyst-driven plays in the next month.
Tops on our list this week is perennial Wall Street favorite
, which announces earnings on Jan. 21.
Google has managed to stay in the headlines in the last week thanks to rumblings over search engine censorship in China and Google's threats to pull its business out of the country unless the government is willing to loosen the reigns. The company is reportedly in talks with the Chinese government presently, an indication that the country isn't likely to shut down its operations just yet.
Online advertising continues to contribute a significant chunk of Google's revenue (which rang in at nearly $22 billion in 2008's fiscal year), proof positive that there's significant money to be made in the online search space. Those sales -- and the company's multibillion dollar profits -- come in spite of investor criticism over the company's less-than-profitable divisions, including YouTube.
But with Google's foray into phone hardware with the Nexus One handset, the search giant could be unleashing a deeply profitable product that's yet to be seen on the company's financials. Watch the stock on Jan. 21; the rest of the investing world certainly will be.
Another big name stock that's set to announce numbers this coming week is
Citigroup has managed to stay on our radar lately particular because of the fact that it's been the worst of an unimpressive breed. As competitors such as
Bank of America
announced successful TARP repayments, Citigroup was dealing with unhappy investors and troubled equity offerings.
But when sentiment's at its worst, the time may be right to pick up shares. For starters, the company is the least affected of the top tier of lenders by the Obama administration's proposed tax on financial institutions at an estimated 11 cents per share. Similarly, with analysts expecting a moderate loss this quarter, the potential for earnings surprise certainly exists. And with Citi's Tier 1 common ratio currently just shy of 10%, the company actually has a bit of a buffer against unexpected bumps in the road.
As the economy continues to stage its delicate recovery, shares of Citiroup could present a fairly decent value assuming the company continues to better its fundamentals. This quarter's earnings on Jan. 19 could be just the catalyst investors are praying for.
Citigroup's far from the only company that's seen a big shift in share prices since consumer sentiment started to resurge.
Office supply retailer
saw shares jump 8.2% on Friday following an upgrade from JPMorgan. Unsurprisingly, Office Max has taken its knocks in the past year, fighting hard to maintain profitability and scale vs. bigger competitors with deeper pockets and thicker margins.
The potential for a good momentum play entering this week is the primary reason we're taking a second look at this stock.
For more stocks that made this week's cut, including
( IDC), check out the
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the
Rhino Stock Report
, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including
, and has been featured in
Investor's Business Daily