How to Invest Ahead of Earnings Reports: Autozone, Big Lots, PetSmart

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The next few days will be big for do-it-yourselfers, bargain hunters and pet lovers and the companies that serve them. Today's pre-earnings buy-and-trade profiles include two companies that report quarterly results on Tuesday, March 4 -- one before the opening bell and one after the closing bell -- and four that report on Wednesday, March 5.

A detailed technical analysis chart about these stocks follows today's profiles on page 3. It explains my number-crunching terms and analysis.

Specialty retailer of automotive parts and accessories targeted to do-it-yourselfers Autozone (AZO) will report quarterly results before the market opens on Tuesday, March 4. Autozone set an all-time high at $561.62 on Feb. 12, exceeding my semiannual level from my proprietary analytics at $550.11.

The closeout retailer of toys and other merchandise Big Lots (BIG) will report quarterly results on Wednesday. The company reported disappointing quarterly results back on Dec. 6, and the stock gapped below its 200-day simple moving average. It traded as low as $25.50 on Feb. 5, then recovered to its 50-day SMA at $29.00 last week.

Retailer of pet food and supplies PetSmart (PETM) reports quarterly results before market open on Wednesday. Like Big Lots, PetSmart reported an earnings miss on Dec. 6 and gapped below its 200-day SMA. It traded as low as $62.12 on Feb. 3, then recovered its 50-day SMA at $66.87 last Friday, Feb. 28.


On to the analysis:

Autozone ($538.44, up 12.7% YTD): Analysts expect the auto parts retailer to report earnings per share of $5.56 before the opening bell on Tuesday, March 4. The stock set an all-time intraday high at $561.62 on Feb. 12 and is above all five moving averages in my "Crunching the Numbers" table on page 3. The weekly chart is positive but overbought, with its five-week modified moving average at $515.82, in a pattern that appears parabolic.

The stock has a gain of 41.6% over the last 12 months. My monthly and quarterly value levels are $517.96 and $488.84, with semiannual and weekly risky levels at $550.11 and $564.39.

Big Lots ($29.55, down 8.5% YTD): Analysts expect the retailer of closeout merchandise to report earnings of $1.42 before the opening bell on Wednesday, March 5. The stock has been below its 200-day SMA at $33.90 since Dec. 6, and begins this week above its 50-day SMA at $29.00. The weekly chart is neutral, with the Friday, Feb. 28 close above the five-week MMA at $28.81, with an oversold 12x3x3 weekly slow stochastic.

The stock has a loss of 11.3% over the last 12 months. My weekly value level is $24.12 with quarterly and monthly risky levels at $31.20 and $35.47.

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