10 Earnings Reports This Quarter I'll be Watching

by: Bill Maurer

As we approach the end of Q3, earnings season is about a month away. These are the top 10 names I'll be focusing on this quarter, and what their earnings mean for more than just the company.

1. Allstate (NYSE:ALL) - Allstate's quarter will be impacted by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The impact of these storms, along with the aftermath of all the flooding, hasn't been quantified yet, and Allstate's quarter could provide some insight. Any impact from the earthquake as well?

2. Sodastream (NASDAQ:SODA) - Sodastream's stock fell 55% after its last earnings report, as investors were disappointed by weak guidance that signaled this high growth company is not growing as fast as many expected. Was this a one quarter problem, or should we take down our expectations even more. Will also be interested to see sales figures to see how this luxury/niche product is selling during this economic soft patch.

3. First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) - The company hit a new 52-week low last week as another solar company went bankrupt. Last quarter, the company lowered its revenue and EPS guidance for the year, and also reduced capital spending numbers. With green energy losing its luster lately, this company will tell us how the industry is faring. Stock is down 30% this year, but is still growing rapidly. You can read my article on why I think this is just a good company in a bad industry.

4. Imax (NYSE:IMAX) - Another indication at consumer discretionary spending. Are people still willing to dole out a few extra bucks to see a 3D movie? Or are they content with seeing it in normal theaters and pocketing the cash? This was the hottest summer on record, so did people hit the beach instead of the theaters? Imax is projected to have 35% revenue growth over last year's quarter, but overall revenue growth for the year is expected down 5%.

5. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) - The stock got a much needed jump after last quarter's report, and the company this week had its analyst meeting where they presented their plan going forward. Cisco is always a key on tech spending, and this quarter is no different. If they aren't spending on technology, are they even spending at all?

6. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) - It's been a newsworthy quarter for Netflix. Their new pricing plan(s) go into effect this month, and it was announced recently that they have not reached an agreement to renew their contract with Starz. This is a major quarter to see how the pricing plan increase will shift customers to the streaming plan, and to see how many people drop their subscriptions. The shorts are waiting to crush this stock, and this could be the quarter they get their chance. Check out my article here for a good reading on the tug of war facing this company.

7. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) - This country needs a stabile banking system. Now down 35% on the quarter, the company has had a huge management shakeup, a big investment from Warren Buffett, and is in process of selling its stake in China Construction Bank. They need to get this mortgage mess behind them, and although that will take more than just one quarter, they need to reassure investors that this company is worth owning. They've seem to do that this quarter as the stock has plunged further.

8. Lennar (NYSE:LEN) - Lennar should be a good indication of how the real estate market is doing. This next earnings report will show how the summer buying season went. Commentary will also be key as they talk about how mortgage rates dropping to new lows will affect the industry going forward.

9. General Mills (NYSE:GIS) - This food giant should show us how well they've been able to withstand higher input prices. Food prices have been rising in supermarkets over the past few months, but will General Mills see any of this? If input prices have risen substantially, the consumer could be in trouble as necessities spending will take a chunk out of discretionary spending.

10. Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) - Gold soared this quarter, but the miners did not seem to be rallying in suit at times. Can they translate higher prices to the bottom line. And at what prices are they hedging? Where do they see gold prices going from here? How is the copper business doing? Is it showing signs of an economic slowdown?

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