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Although we’re almost a month into Q3 earnings season, nearly 800 companies are reporting their earnings next week – do you have a watch list ready?

For ideas on how to narrow down the earnings roster, we ran a screen on next week’s reporting companies for those that are highly shorted yet have a history of surprising analysts with positive earnings reports over the last four reporting periods.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

(Click to enlarge)

Do you think short sellers are right to be pessimistic, or will these companies surprise the market once again? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by average earnings surprise.

1. BroadSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ:BSFT): Provides software that enables fixed-line, mobile, and cable service providers to deliver voice and multimedia services over Internet protocol (IP) based networks. Market cap of $957.99M. Earnings to be announced on 11/07. Short float at 29.80%. In Sep 2010: Reported EPS at 0.08 vs. estimate at -0.07 (surprise of 214.3%). In Dec 2010: Reported EPS at 0.44 vs. estimate at 0.3 (surprise of 46.7%). In Mar 2011: Reported EPS at 0.18 vs. estimate at 0.12 (surprise of 50%). In Jun 2011: Reported 0.29 vs. estimate at 0.12 (surprise of 141.7%). [Average earnings surprise at 113.18%]. The stock has had a good month, gaining 13.68%.

2. Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ:SLXP): Develops, and commercializes prescription drugs for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in the United States. Market cap of $2.03B. Earnings to be announced on 11/08. Short float at 11.56%. In Sep 2010: Reported EPS at 0.05 vs. estimate at -0.15 (surprise of 133.3%). In Dec 2010: Reported EPS at 0.66 vs. estimate at 0.49 (surprise of 34.7%). In Mar 2011: Reported EPS at 0.34 vs. estimate at 0.17 (surprise of 100%). In Jun 2011: Reported 0.54 vs. estimate at 0.48 (surprise of 12.5%). [Average earnings surprise at 70.12%]. The stock has had a good month, gaining 16.41%.

3. Eagle Bulk Shipping, Inc. (NASDAQ:EGLE): Engages in the ocean transportation of bulk cargoes in the dry bulk industry. Market cap of $90.23M. Earnings to be announced on 11/07. Short float at 11.30%. In Sep 2010: Reported EPS at 0.13 vs. estimate at 0.08 (surprise of 62.5%). In Dec 2010: Reported EPS at 0.05 vs. estimate at 0.03 (surprise of 66.7%). In Mar 2011: Reported EPS at -0.09 vs. estimate at -0.1 (surprise of 10%). In Jun 2011: Reported -0.02 vs. estimate at -0.04 (surprise of 50%). [Average earnings surprise at 47.3%]. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.14). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.49% over the last week.

4. Ebix Inc. (NASDAQ:EBIX): Provides on-demand software and e-commerce solutions to the insurance industry. Market cap of $581.27M. Earnings to be announced on 11/07. Short float at 33.24%. In Sep 2010: Reported EPS at 0.43 vs. estimate at 0.32 (surprise of 34.4%). In Dec 2010: Reported EPS at 0.42 vs. estimate at 0.33 (surprise of 27.3%). In Mar 2011: Reported EPS at 0.37 vs. estimate at 0.33 (surprise of 12.1%). In Jun 2011: Reported 0.53 vs. estimate at 0.37 (surprise of 43.2%). [Average earnings surprise at 29.25%]. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 5.3% over the last week.

5. GAMCO Investors, Inc. (NYSE:GBL): A publicly owned holding investment manager. Market cap of $1.18B. Earnings to be announced on 11/07. Short float at 15.87%. In Sep 2010: Reported EPS at 0.73 vs. estimate at 0.54 (surprise of 35.2%). In Dec 2010: Reported EPS at 1.13 vs. estimate at 0.82 (surprise of 37.8%). In Mar 2011: Reported EPS at 0.65 vs. estimate at 0.54 (surprise of 20.4%). In Jun 2011: Reported 0.77 vs. estimate at 0.68 (surprise of 13.2%). [Average earnings surprise at 26.65%]. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 7.34% over the last week.

6. GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:GTAT): Provides polysilicon production technology and multicrystalline ingot growth systems, and related photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing services for the solar industry worldwide. Market cap of $1.04B. Earnings to be announced on 11/07. Short float at 15.91%. In Sep 2010: Reported EPS at 0.28 vs. estimate at 0.24 (surprise of 16.7%). In Dec 2010: Reported EPS at 0.46 vs. estimate at 0.38 (surprise of 21.1%). In Mar 2011: Reported EPS at 0.41 vs. estimate at 0.34 (surprise of 20.6%). In Jun 2011: Reported 0.41 vs. estimate at 0.31 (surprise of 32.3%). [Average earnings surprise at 22.68%]. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 13.61% over the last week.

7. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR): Engages in the specialty coffee and coffee maker business. Market cap of $9.44B. Earnings to be announced on 11/09. Short float at 14.54%. In Sep 2010: Reported EPS at 0.22 vs. estimate at 0.2 (surprise of 10%). In Dec 2010: Reported EPS at 0.18 vs. estimate at 0.16 (surprise of 12.5%). In Mar 2011: Reported EPS at 0.48 vs. estimate at 0.38 (surprise of 26.3%). In Jun 2011: Reported 0.49 vs. estimate at 0.36 (surprise of 36.1%). [Average earnings surprise at 21.22%]. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 31.71%.

*Surprise data sourced from Yahoo! Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 7 Highly Shorted Stocks Reporting Earnings Next Week With A History Of Surprising Analysts