Let's take a look at five stocks that could experience big short squeezes following any bullish earnings reports they soon release.

Remember, short-sellers hate being caught short a stock that releases a strong earnings report. When this happens, we often see a tradeable short squeeze develop as bears scramble to cover some of their positions.

This is why I scan the market every week for heavily shorted stocks that are about to report earnings. You only need to find a few of these plays each week to help rack up super returns.

With that in mind, here are five:

Alibaba Group

My first earnings short-squeeze play is online and mobile commerce player Alibaba Group (BABA - Get Report) , which is set to release numbers on Thursday before the market open. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Alibaba Group to report revenue of $5.2 billion on earnings of 66 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Alibaba Group is very high at 14%. That means out of the 823.18 million shares in the tradeable float, 115.27 million are sold short by the bears.

I would wait until after Alibaba Group reports, then look for long-biased trades, if this stock manages to print a new all-time high above $124.14 (or above Wednesday's intraday high, if greater) with volume that hits near or above 9.06 million shares. If that breakout hits post-earnings, this stock will set up to make a run at $130 to $135, or even $140 to $145 a share.

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Cato

Another potential earnings short-squeeze trade idea is specialty retailer Cato (CATO - Get Report) , which is set to release numbers on Tuesday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect CATO to report revenue of $240.10 million on earnings of 55 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Cato stands at 5.7%. That means that out of the 23.45 million shares in the tradeable float, 1.33 million are sold short by bears.

I would wait until after Cato reports, then look for long-biased trades, if this stock manages to break out above both its 50-day at $22 and its 20-day at $22.39, and then above more resistance at $23.30 with volume that hits near or above 296,831 shares. If that breakout fires off post-earnings, this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major resistance levels at $25 to $26, or even its 200-day at $27.75 a share.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

Another potential earnings short-squeeze candidate is casual-dining and fast-casual restaurants operator Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB - Get Report) , which is set to release numbers Wednesday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Red Robin Gourmet Burgers to report revenue of $416.25 million on earnings of 57 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Red Robin is extremely high, at 34.7%. That means out of the 12.03 million shares in the tradeable float, 4.18 million shares are sold short by the bears.

I would wait until after Red Robin reports, then look for long-biased trades, if this stock manages to break out above a key down trend line that starts over its 52-week high of $60.90 with volume that hits near or above 328,833 shares. If that breakout triggers post-earnings, this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major resistance levels at $67 to $69, or even $73 a share.

Globant S.A.

Another earnings short-squeeze prospect is technology player Globant S.A. (GLOB - Get Report) , which is set to release numbers on Thursday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Globant S.A. to report revenue of $87.72 million on earnings of 27 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Globant S.A. is pretty high at 12.9%. That means that out of 23.96 million shares in the tradeable float, 3.10 million shares are sold short by bear.

I would wait until after Globant S.A. reports, then look for long-biased trades, if this stock manages to break out above some near-term resistance at $38.19 with volume that hits near or above 187,421 shares. If that breakout hits post-earnings, this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major resistance levels at $43 to $45.70 a share.

ZTO Express

My final earnings short-squeeze trading opportunity is China-based logistics services player ZTO Express (ZTO - Get Report) , which is set to release numbers on Wednesday after the market close. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect ZTO Express to report revenue of $368.80 million on earnings of 9 cents per share.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for ZTO Express is notable at 3.7%. That means out of the 467.91 million shares in the tradeable float, 17.67 million shares are sold short by the bears.

I would wait until after ZTO Express reports, then look for long-biased trades, if the stock manages to break out above some near-term resistance levels at $14.70 to $14.76, with volume that hits near or above 2.74 million shares. If that breakout develops post-earnings, this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major levels, at $16.90, to its 52-week high of $18.45 a share.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.