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Next week kicks off the beginning of earnings season for Q4 of 2011. Do you have a watch list prepared?

We ran a screen on the reporting companies for those with the most significant net institutional purchases over the current quarter.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the 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.

Do you think these companies will report positive earnings surprises? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by net institutional purchases as a percent of share float.

1. Raptor Pharmaceuticals Corp. (RPTP): Operates as a biotechnology company in the United States. Market cap of $299.04M. Earnings to be announced on 01/09. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 9.1M, which is 20.10% of the company's 45.28M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.56% (equivalent to 9.95 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 13.41%.

2. Frisch's Restaurants Inc. (FRS): Operates restaurants in the United States. Market cap of $95.45M. Earnings to be announced on 01/09. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 10.3K, which is 13.08% of the company's 78.72K share float. The stock has lost 9.77% over the last year.

3. MSCI Inc. (MSCI): Provides investment decision support tools, including indices and portfolio risk and performance analytics for use by institutions in managing equity, fixed income and multi-asset class portfolios. Market cap of $3.97B. Earnings to be announced on 01/09. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 4.3M, which is 4.44% of the company's 96.95M share float. The stock has lost 15.48% over the last year.

4. Essex Property Trust Inc. (ESS): Engages in the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, development and redevelopment of apartment communities primarily in the West Coast of the United States. Market cap of $4.79B. Earnings to be announced on 01/12. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.3M, which is 3.87% of the company's 33.61M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 6.84% (equivalent to 6.26 days of average volume). The stock has gained 27.04% over the last year.

5. Lennar Corp. (LEN): Operates as a homebuilder and provider of financial services in the United States. Market cap of $3.67B. Earnings to be announced on 01/11. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.5M, which is 3.44% of the company's 159.79M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 20.41% (equivalent to 5.5 days of average volume). The stock has gained 5.76% over the last year.

*Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 5 Institutional Stock Picks Releasing Earnings Next Week