Investing Ahead of Earnings: McCormick, Sonic and Walgreen

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Today, we preview six companies that are reporting earnings over the next two days. We crunch the numbers to help you decide if and when to invest.

Cache (CACH) ($3.98, down 26.7% year to date): Analysts expect the women's apparel retailer to report a loss of 13 cents a share before the opening bell on Tuesday. The stock traded as high as $6.17 on Jan. 10 and as low as $3.95 on Friday.

It's below all moving averages in today's Crunching the Numbers table. The weekly chart is negative with its five-week modified moving average at $4.76 and below the 200-week simple moving average at $4.05. A quarterly value level is $3.30 with semiannual risky levels at $5.11 and $5.61.

Five Below (FIVE) ($38.59, down 10.7% YTD): Analysts expect the retailer of low-priced merchandise for teens and pre-teens to report earnings of 45 cents a share after the closing bell on Tuesday. The stock set an all-time intraday high at $55.28 on Nov. 18 and traded as low as $33.94 on Feb. 5. It has been below its 200-day SMA at $41.82 since Jan. 10.

The weekly chart shifts to positive with a close this week above its five-week MMA at $38.22. A weekly value level is $37.56 with quarterly and monthly risky levels at $39.53 and $47.09.

McCormick (MKC) ($67.54, down 2% YTD): Analysts expect the spice maker to report earnings of 58 cents a share before the opening bell on Tuesday. The stock traded as high as $70.42 on Jan. 22 and as low as $62.76 on Feb. 7. It's between its 50-day SMA at $66.81 and 200-day SMA at $68.75.

The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $66.95. Monthly and weekly value levels are $64.45 and $63.55 with semiannual risky levels at $75.03 and $78.45.

Steelcase (SCS) ($14.80, down 6.7% YTD): Analysts expect the maker of office furniture to report earnings of 17 cents a share after the closing bell on Tuesday. The stock traded as low as $13.60 on Feb. 4, and then tried to take out its 200-day SMA at $15.26 in early March but could not.

The weekly chart shifts to positive given a close this week above its five-week MMA at $14.84. My annual value levels are $10.26 and $8.28 with a weekly pivot at $14.85 and semiannual risky levels at $15.46 and $17.03.

Sonic (SONC) ($21.27, up 5.3% YTD): Analysts expect the burger chain to report earnings of 6 cents a share after the closing bell today. The stock traded as low as $16.94 on Feb. 5, a test of its 200-day SMA on that date, and traded as high as $22.36 on March 18. The weekly chart is positive with its five-week MMA at $20.32. Weekly and quarterly value levels are $20.88 and $20.81 with a monthly risky level at $22.54.

Walgreen (WAG) ($64.75, up 12.7% YTD): Analysts expect the drugstore chain to report earnings of 93 cents a share before the opening bell on Tuesday. The stock traded as low as $55.27 on Feb. 5 and as high as $69.84 on Feb. 28, an all-time intraday high.

The weekly chart shifts to negative given a close this week below its five-week MMA at $64.29. Quarterly and semiannual value levels are $55.18 and $47.52 with monthly and weekly risky levels at $71.63 and $71.91.

Crunching the Numbers with Richard Suttmeier

There are five columns with moving average titles: Five-Week Modified Moving Average, 21-Day Simple Moving Average, 50-Day Simple Moving Average, 200-Day Simple Moving Average and the 200-Week Simple Moving Average.

The column labeled 12x3x3 Weekly Slow Stochastics shows the pattern on each weekly chart with readings from Oversold, Rising, Overbought, Declining or Flat.

Interpretations: (stocks below a moving average listed in Red are below that moving average)

Five-Week Modified Moving Average (MMA) is one of two indicators that define whether or not a weekly chart profile is positive, neutral or negative. The other is the status of the 12x3x3 weekly slow stochastic.

A stock with a positive technical rating is above its five-week MMA with rising or overbought stochastics.

A stock with a negative technical rating is below its five-week MMA with declining or oversold stochastics.

A stock with a neutral technical rating has a profile that is not positive or negative.

The 200-Week Simple Moving Average (SMA) is considered a long-term technical support or resistance and as a "reversion to the mean" over a rolling three to five year horizon. (even Apple declined to its 200-week SMA in June 2013)

The 21-Day Simple Moving Average is a short-term technical support or resistance used by many hedge fund traders to adjust positions. A stock above its 21-day SMA will likely move higher over a rolling three to five day horizon and vice versa.

The 50-Day Simple Moving Average is also a technical support or resistance used by many strategists and commentators in financial TV.

The 200-Day Simple Moving Average is another technical support or resistance and I consider this level as a shorter-term "reversion to the mean" over a rolling six to 12 month horizon. (even Apple tested or crossed its 200-day SMA in nine of the last 10 years)

Value Levels, Pivots and Risky Levels are calculated based upon the last nine weekly closes (W), nine monthly closes (M), nine quarterly closes (Q), nine semiannual closes (S) and nine annual closes (A). I have one column for pivots, which is a magnet for the period shown. The columns to the left of the pivots are first and second value levels. The columns to the right of the pivots are first and second risky levels.

Investors who wish to buy a stock should use a good-until-canceled GTC limit order to buy weakness to a value level. Investors who want to sell a stock should use a GTC limit order to sell strength to a risky level.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

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This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff

Richard Suttmeier is the chief market strategist at ValuEngine.com. He has been a professional in the U.S. Capital Markets since 1972, transferring his engineering skills to the trading and investment world.

Suttmeier has an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a Master of Science degree from Brooklyn Poly. He began his career in the financial services industry in 1972 trading U.S. Treasury securities in the primary dealer community. He became the first long bond trader for Bache in 1978, and formed the Government Bond Department at LF Rothschild in 1981, helping establish that firm as a primary dealer in 1986. This experience gives him the insights to be an expert on monetary policy, which he features in his newsletters, and market commentary.

Suttmeier's industry licenses include, Series 7 and Registered Principal (Series 24). He has been the Chief Market Strategist for ValuEngine.com since 2008 and often appears on financial TV.

Click here for details on Suttmeier's "Buy and Trade" investment strategy.

Richard Suttmeier can be reached at RSuttmeier@Gmail.com

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