WINDERMERE, Fla. ( Stockpickr) -- News events have the power to create big volatility in stocks, and the one event that can move them substantially higher or lower is an earnings release. Combine a bullish earnings report with a stock that's heavily shorted, and you have the fuel that can ignite a large short squeeze.

Short-sellers hate being caught short a stock that announces bullish earning and forward guidance. When this happens, we often see a tradable short squeeze develop as the bears rush to cover their positions and avoid huge losses. Even the most skilled short-sellers know that it's never a great idea to stay short once earnings spark a big short-covering rally.

This is precisely why I search the market for heavily shorted stocks that are about to report earnings. You only need to find a couple of these candidates in a year to help enhance your portfolio returns -- the gains become so outsized in such a short timeframe that your profits add up quickly.

Related: 5 Technical Setups for Breakout Gains

That said, let's not forget that stocks are heavily shorted for a reason, so you have to use trading discipline and sound money management when playing earnings short-squeeze candidates. It's important that you don't go betting the farm on these plays and manage your risk accordingly. Sometimes the best play is to wait for the stock to breakout following the report before you jump in to profit from off a short squeeze. That way, you let the trend emerge after the market has digested all of the news.

That said, sometimes the stock is going to be in such high demand that you will miss a lot of the move. That's why it's worth betting prior to the report if you have a very strong conviction that the stock is going to explode higher.

Here's a look at a number of stocks that could experience big short squeezes when they report earnings this week.

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