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Sykes Enterprises (NASDAQ:SYKE) is a stock for longs to watch in tonight's after-hours, particularly if it sees a post-earnings pop higher. It has strong historical data following earnings-driven gains, adding to its after-hours upside in 80% of the quarters tracked in our database. An up move tonight, and we'd be nibbling at the edges.

The issue demonstrates a strong tendency to widen its regular-session share moves following extended-hour earnings reports in the handful of events we've tracked, doing so in 13 of 19 quarters. Near term, the stock is mixed, widening its move twice, narrowing twice, and seeing a flat after-hours move followed by a next-day gain.

Looking deeper into the data, the stock has followed earnings news with a share gain 10 times, widening that move in 8 quarters, or 80% of the time.

Shorts will note six instances in which the stock followed earnings with a lower move, extending that move in more convincing fashion in just half of those quarters.

SYKE is due with its Q4 results after the bell tonight and the Thomson Reuters mean is for $0.32 per share in earnings on $308 million in revenue.

Here's the historical data over the last five years:

On Nov. 1, 2010, SYKE ended the evening session flat after beating Q3 results and setting its guidance largely above the Street view. The stock moved to the plus-side the following day, closing the Nov. 2 regular session up 4.5%.

On August 2, 2010, the stock plummeted 31.6% in evening trading after reporting a Q2 earnings miss and guidance below the Street view (a prediction upgraded to above the Street in late October). Shares trimmed that loss slightly the next day, ending down 22%.

On May 3, 2010, SYKE slumped 7.8% in after-hours trading after beating Q1 estimates but also issuing Q2 guidance in-line to lower than Street expectations. The stock shed even more the next day, closing the May 4 regular session down 8.5%.

On March 1, 2011, SYKE was hammered for a 17.7% decline in night trading after beating revenue expectations and offering mixed guidance. The bulk of that decline evaporated the following day as SYKE closed the March 2 regular session down a modest 1.8%.

On Nov. 2, 2009, SYKE gained 2.7% in after-hours action after beating on Q3 and setting its Q4 guidance in line to better than the Street view. The stock added to its upside the following day, rising 5% by the close on Nov. 3.

On Aug. 3, 2009, SYKE advanced 5.1% in after-hours trading after topping Q2 expectations and setting its guidance above the Street view. The stock surged higher the following day, rising 8.5% by the close of the Aug. 4 regular session.

On May 4, 2009, SYKE gained 4.6% in after-hours trading after beating on Q1 EPS and issuing mixed guidance. It lost its gain the following day, ending down 6% in the May 5 regular session.

On March 2, 2009, the stock fell 5% during extended-hours trading after earnings declined vs. the year-ago period and the company guided below the Street view. The loss doubled and shares closed down 10.5% the next day.

On Nov. 3, 2008, SYKE advanced 9.1% in after-hours trading after reporting better-than-expected results and mixed guidance. The stock jumped even higher the following day, rising 16.1% in the Nov. 4 regular session.

On Aug. 4, 2008, SYKE advanced 5.7% in after-hours trading after beating quarterly expectations and issuing mixed guidance. The stock cut back slightly its gains the next day, closing the Aug. 5 regular session up 4.8%.

On May 5, 2008, SYKE surged 10% in after-hours trading after beating Q1 expectations and setting its guidance above the Street view. The stock firmed higher the next day, closing the May 6 regular session up 11.3%.

On March 10, 2008, the stock gained 3.6% during evening trading after the company beat with Q4 results and with its guidance. The gain improved to 5.2% the next day.

On Nov. 5, 2007, the stock ended evening trading flat after its latest earnings report. Shares jumped 12.8% the next day.

On Aug. 6, 2007, the stock was flat in evening trading after SYKE reports shy with its latest results and guides mostly lower. The issue shed 2.6% the next day.

On May 7, 2007, SYKE fell 2.6% in the evening hours after the company reported ahead with Q1 results but offered mixed guidance. The stock closed up 2.5% the next day.

On March 5, 2007, shares improved 2.7% after the company topped with Q4 results and guided higher. The gain was a more robust 5.7% the next day.

On Nov. 6, 2006, shares were down 3.7% in the evening session after EPS misses though sales top. The loss swelled to 12.5% the next day.

In the pre-market hours of Aug. 8, 2006, the stock soared 10.3% on back of results out the prior evening that beat and amid favorable guidance. The gain improved to 13.8% during regular trading.

On March 8, 2006, the stock was up 5.7% in the evening session after beating with its latest results. The gain fattened to 12% the next day.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: Sykes a Bullish Long Trade on Upside Earnings Moves

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