Short-sellers despise being caught short a stock that announces a bullish earnings report. When this happens, we often see a tradable short squeeze develop as the bears move quickly to cover some of their positions. Even the best short-sellers know, it's never a great idea to get caught short once a bullish earnings report initiates a short-covering rally.

This is why I scan the market every week for heavily shorted stocks that are about to release earnings. You only need to find a few of these plays every week to help rack up supercharged returns.

With that in mind, let's take a look at five stocks that could experience big short squeezes following any bullish earnings reports they release soon.

IMAX

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My first earnings short-squeeze play is entertainment technology player IMAX (IMAX) - Get IMAX Corporation Report , which is set to release numbers on Thursday before the market open. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect IMAX to report revenue of $75.38 million on earnings of 7 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for IMAX is very high at 16.2%. That means that out of the 56.60 million shares in the tradable float, 9.17 million shares are sold short by the bears.

I would wait until after IMAX reports, and then look for long-biased trades if this stock manages to break out above both its 50-day at $32.73 and its 20-day at $33.08 and then above more key resistance levels at $34.60 to $35.30 with volume that hits near or above 781,819 shares. If that breakout fires off post-earnings, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $37 to $40, or even $43 to $44 a share.

Proofpoint

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Another potential earnings short-squeeze trading opportunity is application software player Proofpoint (PFPT) - Get Proofpoint, Inc. Report , which is set to release numbers on Thursday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Proofpoint to report revenue of $110.58 million on earnings of 9 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Proofpoint is pretty high at 15.5%. That means that out of the 42.13 million shares in the tradable float, 6.56 million shares are sold short by the bears.

I would wait until after Proofpoint reports, and then look for long-biased trades if this stock manages to break out above its 200-day at $76.07 to $77.08 and then above its 50-day at $78.38 with volume that hits near or above 628,862 shares. If that breakout hits post-earnings, then this stock will set up to re-fill some of its recent gap-down-day zone that started near $82 a share.

Yahoo!

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Another potential earnings short-squeeze candidate is search and display advertising services player Yahoo! (YHOO) , which is set to release numbers on Tuesday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Yahoo! to report revenue of $1.23 billion on earnings of 14 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Yahoo! is notable at 7.1%. That means that out of the 796 million shares in the tradable float, 56.62 million shares are sold short by the bears.

I would wait until after Yahoo! reports, and then look for long-biased trades if this stock manages to break out above its 52-week high of $47.74 to some past resistance levels at $50 to $52.60 with volume that hits near or above 6.58 million shares. If that breakout triggers post-earnings, then this stock will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $55 to $60, or even $65 a share.

Lam Research

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Another earnings short-squeeze prospect is semiconductor player Lam Research (LRCX) - Get Lam Research Corporation (LRCX) Report , which is set to release numbers on Tuesday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Lam Research to report revenue of $2.13 billion on earnings of $2.55 per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Lam Research sits at 6.8%. That means that out of 162.29 million shares in the tradable float, 11.10 million shares are sold short by the bear.

I would wait until after Lam Research reports, and then look for long-biased trades if this stock manages to break out above some near-term resistance levels at $128 to $130 and then above its 52-week high of $130.13 with volume that hits near or above 1.69 million shares. If that breakout develops post-earnings, then this stock will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $135 to $140, or even $145 to $150 a share.

Helix Energy Solutions Group

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My final earnings short-squeeze play is energy equipment and services player Helix Energy Solutions Group (HLX) - Get Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. Report , which is set to release numbers on Monday before the market open. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Helix Energy Solutions Group to report revenue of $113.46 million on a loss of 13 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Helix Energy Solutions Group stands at 7.4%. That means that out of the 139.19 million shares in the tradable float, 10.32 million shares are sold short by the bears.

I would wait until after Helix Energy Solutions Group reports, and then look for long-biased trades if this stock manages to break out above some near-term resistance levels at $7.94 to $8.11 with volume that hits near or above 2.32 million shares. If that breakout fires off post-earnings, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day of $8.37 to $8.75, or even $9.50 to $9.80 a share.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.