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Earnings Season Survival Guide

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Stay focused with this simple list.

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It's that time again, and soon we'll be hearing from the likes of Apple (AAPL), Intel (INTC), IBM (IBM) and Google (GOOG) about the first quarter.


While pundits will discuss whether or not we're in a recession, traders will be watching earnings reports closely for a better read on how stocks are handling the bumpy road. Many will talk about trying to game these reports with pre-earnings bets, but I see these bets as some potentially expensive lessons in risk.

Instead, each day during earnings season I follow a very simple three-step process.

1) Check Who's Reporting: Each day I run through the list of those reporting within the next two days.

2) Cut Appropriately: Whenever I see a stock I already own is due for a report, I'll cut my size down to a token so as to not be met with any surprises.

3) Remain Proactive: Before adding new names during earnings season, I'll first check when they're reporting. I'll pass on those reporting soon while adjusting my size for others whose reports are still a few weeks away.

Many people fear missing a move but it's been my experience that a quality name offers multiple entries and the risk is greatly reduced once the report and reaction are in the rear view mirror.

Earnings season always brings out the gambler in us all but should you feel a strong desire to succumb, consider jet-setting to Vegas, where at least you'll be served free drinks while you lose money.

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Position in IBM.

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