BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Traders are reluctantly slinking their way back to their desks this morning, the first market session after the a three-day reprieve from trading.The extended holiday should have given market participants a chance to rethink their assumptions going into April -- and to decide whether they're betting on a rally to continue into April, or fizzle out entirely. At this point, popular sentiment has clearly moved from bullish to bearish, even if the fundamental and technical picture hasn't actually reflected the same. But there is a big catalyst for some fundamental-driven price action coming our way this week: I'm talking about earnings season. >>5 Stocks Under $10 Poised to Move Higher Earnings officially kick off with Alcoa's ( AA) call after the bell tomorrow. And analysts are anticipating a less-than-great quarter, with a 0.1% drop in first-quarter earnings for the S&P 500. Here's the thing that most people are missing though: Major selloffs don't happen when stocks fall in-line with analyst estimates; those negative expectations are already priced into the market. So any earnings positive surprise is going to have a lifting effect on U.S. stocks. To get ready for earnings season, we're turning to a new set of Rocket Stocks this week. For the uninitiated, "Rocket Stocks" are our list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a weekly quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises to identify rising analyst expectations, a bullish signal for stocks in any market. After all, where analysts' expectations are increasing, institutional cash often follows. In the last 147 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500 by 79.73%. With that, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.
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