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Expected service sector earnings reports and the whisper number impact for Thursday, December 20th:

Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE:RAD): The whisper number is -$0.02, one cent ahead of the analysts' estimate. RAD has a 44% positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 17 of the 39 earnings reports for which we have data). The average price movement (starting at next market open) within 10 trading days of all earnings reports is -3.7%. The strongest price movement of +5.8% comes within 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -7.9% within 10 trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number. Last quarter, the company reported earnings one cent ahead of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 15.7% loss in 25 trading days. Enter your expectation and view more earnings information here.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI): The whisper number is $0.22, four cents behind the analysts' estimate. DRI has a 58% positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 21 of the 36 earnings reports for which we have data). The average price movement (starting at next market open) within 10 trading days of all earnings reports is +0.6%. The strongest price movement of +1.7% comes within 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -3.9% within 20 trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number. Last quarter, the company reported earnings in-line with the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 7.4% loss in 25 trading days. Enter your expectation and view more earnings information here.

American Greetings Corp. (NYSE:AM-OLD): The whisper number is $0.41, seven cents behind the analysts' estimate. AM has a 56% positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 15 of the 21 earnings reports for which we have data). The average price movement (starting at next market open) within 10 trading days of all earnings reports is -1.2%. The strongest price movement of +3.2% comes within 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -11.6% within 20 trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number. Last quarter, the company reported earnings 33 cents short of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 1.7% gain in 20 trading days. Enter your expectation and view more earnings information here.

CarMax Inc. (NYSE:KMX): The whisper number is $0.39, in-line with the analysts' estimate. KMX has a 56% positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 18 of the 32 earnings reports for which we have data). The average price movement (starting at next market open) within 10 trading days of all earnings reports is -1.3%. The strongest price movement of -2.0% comes within 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -4.8% within 20 trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number (negative reactor). Last quarter, the company reported earnings three cents short of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 9.1% loss in 10 trading days. Enter your expectation and view more earnings information here.

Cintas Corp. (NASDAQ:CTAS): The whisper number is $0.62, in-line with the analysts' estimate. CTAS has a 52% positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 14 of the 27 earnings reports for which we have data). The average price movement (starting at next market open) within 10 trading days of all earnings reports is -0.1%. The strongest price movement of +1.8% comes within 20 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -4.4% within five trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number. Last quarter, the company reported earnings in-line with the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 6.1% loss in one trading day before turning and seeing a 2.5% gain in 20 trading days. Enter your expectation and view more earnings information here.

Knowing how likely a stock's price will move following an earnings report will help you make better trades. Many investors believe that beating or missing the whisper number has the greatest impact on stock movement. If the number is exceeded, the stock is rewarded and prices move higher. If the number is missed, the stock is punished and prices move lower. Unlike the analysts' estimate, the "whisper number" from WhisperNumber.com has actually been proven to have a greater impact on stock movement.

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Since 1998, WhisperNumber.com has been tracking and publishing "crowd-sourced estimates" for earnings. We call these earnings expectations whisper numbers. The "crowd" that provides us with whisper numbers is primarily individual investors and traders just like you that have registered with our site.

We are an independent financial research firm. We have no affiliations with investment banks, investment management, or corporate organizations that could compromise our data or analysis. (So no relationships with the bad guys or so-called professional analysts).

As for our data collection, methodology, and price reaction accuracy: for the past 15 years, we have remained consistent with data collection and methodology, and our data has proven itself over that time. We also have two independent academic studies supporting the premise that investor expectations for quarterly earnings (our whisper numbers) provide greater returns when used as an investment vehicle, and have a greater impact on stock movement than analysts' consensus estimates.

A company's "price reaction" to the whisper number expectation is the key -- on average, companies that exceed the whisper are "rewarded," while companies that miss are "punished" following an earnings report.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "positive surprises are becoming so common they are nearly universal. They are predetermined in a cynical tango-clinch between companies and the analysts who cover them. All the numbers are gamed at this point." This is why the proprietary whisper number we provide is a more useful and viable alternative to analysts' estimates.

All trading involves risk and the information presented is not intended to be a recommendation of any kind.

Source: Whisper Number Impact: Earnings Preview For Rite Aid, Darden, American Greetings, CarMax, And Cintas