With the second-quarter earnings season coming into full swing, investors are eager to find out how their investments performed in the most recent quarter compared with expectations. And given the uncertainty in both the domestic and international economies, now more than ever a company's forward-looking sales and revenue guidance will be essential to how investors interpret the report.

Remember, the key to staying ahead of the crowd is to understand and accurately interpret both the business cycle and how an underlying sector is faring relatively to the broader business cycle.

With this in mind, here's a rundown of some notable recent earnings reports.

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