5 Stocks to Trade Ahead of Earnings

MINNEAPOLIS ( Stockpickr) -- Third-quarter earnings season begins in earnest when Alcoa ( AA) reports results on Oct. 11. For those looking to get a head start on trading earnings, several big names report results this week, including Costco ( COST), Yum Brands ( YUM), Marriot International ( MAR) and Constellation Brands ( STZ).

Investors have endured the brunt of speculative selling over the last few months. With earnings, we can move beyond speculation and begin adjusting to actual facts. Sellers are betting on a recession, and they may be right.

Recent economic data would seem to suggest that recession is inevitable -- as does as a recent report from the Economic Cycle Research Institute. In fact, the leading economic indicators that the institute follows are indicated that a recession may have already begun.

>>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy in October

Despite that gloomy prediction, investors tried to move stocks higher last week. A selloff on Friday erased gains, and the S&P 500 ended the week off 0.44%. Once again the action was entirely unpredictable making it difficult for investors and traders alike.

Those trading earnings had an easier time of it. Two of the trades mentioned here last week did quite well. The suggested short of Micron ( MU) was a winner, with that stock down 14% after a very disappointing earnings report. Another winner was the long recommendation of Jabil Circuits ( JBL); the semiconductor stock gained 10% after reporting strong earnings.

Where will the winners be this week? Here are five stocks to trade in advance of third-quarter earnings season.

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