The biotech sector rose 15% in the third quarter, trouncing the overall market, and investors want to be rewarded for that kind of confidence.

Wall Street too has high expectations. Just as Genentech ( DNA) reported strong results Monday, big quarterly numbers are anticipated from Gilead ( GILD) and Genzyme ( GENZ).

Of course, those won't be the only stocks drawing ample scrutiny, not while the likes of Amgen ( AMGN), Celgene ( CELG) and Biogen Idec ( BIIB) remain on the calendar.

Amgen in particular always attracts outsized interest. After all, it is the world's biggest biotech by market cap.

Analysts generally expect strong third-quarter results on Oct. 19, with consensus profit estimates at 82 cents a share on sales of $3.25 billion. A year ago, the company earned 64 cents and had sales of $2.7 billion.

Where it gets tricky is trying to pin down whether sales of individual products like Neupogen and Enbrel will impress or disappoint shareholders.

"We believe that Amgen's U.S. product revenues will be approximately 2% below consensus, in line with our current estimate," Geoffrey Porges of Bernstein Research wrote in a recent research note.

At the same time, he says Epogen, Neupogen and Neulasta sales could trail his previous expectations by 2% to 5%, based on models created using data from IMS Health, which tracks medical industry numbers. However, Amgen remains on his list of preferred picks in the biotech group, thanks to the promise of its pipeline.

To Elise Wang, a biotech analyst at Smith Barney, Amgen remains relatively inexpensive. Wang's Enbrel sales estimate is $645 million for the quarter, compared with the consensus estimate of $665 million.

On Oct. 4, she reduced her Neupogen sales prediction to $310 million from $317 million, compared with a consensus of $308 million. At the same time, she cut her Neulasta projection to $601 million, below the consensus forecast.

If you liked this article you might like

Nationwide Egg Recall Expanded

10 Toy Fads That Have Faded

Boomers Feel Recession Burden, Blame

KFC Franchisees Want 'Fried' to Be the Focus

Heavy Weights: More Expensive, Less Effective