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As far as the massive players go, earnings season kicks back into full force next month. Alcoa (AA), for instance, reports on April 11th. Big and small names continue to report, however, with several reports coming in on Thursday that could prove interesting. I look at three of the companies who update investors this afternoon after the closing bell.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD). When I moved to Santa Monica, I was somewhat surprised to see a Krispy Kreme location within walking distance of my house. I, like many investors, considered the purveyor of fine junk foods relegated to random locations in far-flung suburban outposts. But, it was not so; Krispy Kreme still hunkered down on some of Wilshire Boulevard's most expensive land.

The fall of KKD has been well-chronicled. During the year 2000, KKD shares traded at premium of over $100. Shortly after a couple of 2-for-1 splits, KKD went on a slow and steady descent, flirting with the $1.00-level throughout early 2009. Over the last 52 weeks, however, Krispy Kreme has seen its shares rebound to a high of $8.16. KKD closed Wednesday's session at $6.83.

KKD still trades at somewhat of a premium, with a P/E ratio of close to 50. According to Yahoo! Finance, the three analysts who cover the stock expect earnings of $0.04 per share and considerable EPS growth throughout 2011. Short interest in KKD is not huge -- about 3 million shares or 5% or so of the float. But if KKD beats earnings, don't be surprised to see it run aided by a short squeeze.

Sino Clean Energy (OTC:SCEI). As a hockey fan, I love the old saying, "I went to see a fight and a hockey game broke out." The stock market should adopt a snappy new line: "I dialed into an earnings call and a Chinese fraud broke out." I doubt Sino is up to anything nefarious, but it sure has taken investors on a wild ride over the last 52 weeks, trading as low as $2.00 and as high as $10.10. It closed the day Wednesday at $5.66. SCEI has shed about $1.50 since mid-February.

Recent and potential future shareholder dilution certainly played a key role in the recent sell-off. Undoubtedly, investors will want answers about what Sino plans to do with the cash they have raised and the specific intent of a recent offering that is to bring in more than $7 million. Sino produces and distributes coal-water slurry fuel, which the Chinese government supports as a "clean coal" technology.

DemandTec (DMAN). Investors have bid up the shares of DemandTec in recent weeks, possibly counting on a rebound in retail to accelerate revenues and earnings growth. The San Mateo, California-based company provides pricing and promotional solutions to retailers across North America, South America, and Europe. DemandTec customers include Best Buy (BBY), Home Depot (HD), Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT) and Safeway (SWY).

Despite a long and impressive slate of customers, DemandTec is not profitable. Throughout 2011, several insiders have been selling off DMAN shares between $12.06 to $14.04, and with some frequency. As of its last quarterly report, filed at the SEC's Edgar Online website, the company reported having about $69 million in cash versus debt of just $8,000. These numbers come before DemandTec's recent acquistion of analytics software firm MFactor. One red flag investors will probably keep an eye on during the report: Accounts receivable spiked between the end of August and the end of November last year, from $12.8M to $17.4M. While revenues also grew, the pace was not quite as strong.

DMAN shares have enjoyed a nice run of late, more than doubling over the last year. Thursday afternoon's earnings report could provide further momentum or trigger a significant tumble.

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

Source: 3 Earnings Reports Worth Watching After Thursday's Close