TheStreet's Moritz vs. MarketWatch's Willard

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- MarketWatch's Cody Willard was surely among those chanting "great quarter guys" as Intel ( INTC) and Adtran ( ADTN) blew past second quarter financial targets late Tuesday.
Earnings Smackdown

The drama was heated after the bell Tuesday as Willard and Moritz squared off on Intel and networking gearmaker Adtran. Moritz was $4,000 short on the two stocks. And collectively, Willard staked $8,000 of his $10,000 total pretend allocation on the long side.

Willard saw Adtran as part of "a major spend cycle to build up the wireless networks you use for your iPad, iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys and wireless cards."

The big beat-and-raise performance from Intel and Adtran pushed the shares up 6% early Wednesday, giving Willard a solid opening day for his five stock portfolio.

For TheStreet's Moritz, it was a shot to the chin. Moritz went short Intel on the hunch that weakness in Europe would put a hole in the numbers. Moritz had $2,000 of his fake money on the bet. At the market open Wednesday, Willard's portfolio was up 6% and fittingly Moritz was 6% in the hole.

This is the second match between Willard and Moritz, who picked five stocks of companies that report earnings this week. The trader with the highest gains at the close Friday will walk away the winner.

TheStreet's Moritz handily won the first Earnings Smackdown against MarketWatch's Willard by applying a brutally optimistic take on tech, while Willard got hammered on his short positions in the financial sector.

This time around, Moritz has reversed his strategy with an all-short line up.

Since spring, investors have been bailing out of tech stocks on fear that the fragile recovery isn't gaining traction. From an April high, the Nasdaq has fallen 13% and going into the earnings season. Moritz is betting that that trend may continue.

Here are Moritz's picks:

Intel ( INTC). A strong pick-up in orders in the closing weeks of the second quarter more than offset the early weakness in Europe. The strength of the performance dispelled some fears that tech spending may be back in a slump. The big test for Intel now is whether the 12% sequential increase in inventory will worry investors if the second-half outlook dims at all this week.

Adtran has been a favorite of networking gear investors looking to play the national broadband stimulus spending surge. The excitement around that upgrade cycle might not have entirely faded, and investors who Moritz thought would hit the exit, instead came rushing in. Adtran was up 8% Wednesday in the wake of a strong earnings report Tuesday.

Google ( GOOG) goes Thursday after the bell. All the cheer around a renewed license in China last week may fade when investors get a report on how Google's solid domestic sales were dragged down by Europe. The growth picture could look a little flat on a sequential basis compared with the first quarter, giving investors no reason to hang around. The short side might be the right side this week.

Polycom ( PLCM), the conference call phonemaker, has totally avoided the spring tech selloff. This resilience is largely due to takeout rumors. But investors may not be buying it. Short with care.

National Beverage ( FIZZ) finishes the Smackdown on Friday. As a fellow Westerner, Willard knows where to find Shasta Black Cherry in the soda aisle. Shasta is the flagship brand owned by National Beverage, which sells a roster of other low-priced, second-tier drinks for a thirsty crowd looking more for a bargain than a brand.

The stock is up 10% since May 1 as investors pile in ahead of the summer's peak sales. Analysts -- all two of them -- expect National Beverage to post an 18-cent profit on $152 million in sales. But even if the company beats by its customary penny, the stock could easily fizzle. Short it with a Shasta Cola chaser.

For Willard, the remaining $2,000 of his Smackdown funds are shorts on GE ( GE), JPMorgan ( JPM) and Citigroup ( C).

"The cycle, the public, the psychology -- it's all turned against the big banks," Willard declared.

That's exactly the bold bet that cost Willard the match in the first Smackdown, which leaves an ever so slight chance for an improbable Moritz comeback.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.