Good morning and happy Monday! Today is one Monday I can’t complain about, after waking up to Alibaba (BABA) up to $117 in pre-market trading. Plus, it was a great weekend filled with relaxing, family fun.

To set your week off right, here are a few key earnings reports you may want to watch for.

Earnings reports this week

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) – You might not have heard of Inovio before, unless you read my post on it. It’s a tiny pharmaceutical company that isn’t pulling in big money yet, but I’ve been watching it for the past few months. Why? It has an Ebola vaccine in the pipeline.

Looks like the earnings report this morning wasn’t great and the stock is trading slightly down. I might consider buying some shares this morning after the post-earnings drop. Given the world-wide Ebola concerns, I’m thinking the stock price may jump higher if INO announces any new developments in the vaccines in the near future.

J.C. Penney (JCP) – I may consider J.C. Penney for an earnings play. They have beat earnings estimates, and tended to move higher after earnings, for the past 3 quarters. While they still are doing quite poorly, they are reducing their operating losses (expected to improve losses by 57% from last year) so they are moving in the right direction. And even if they never succeed from an operating perspective, they have so much cash and real estate that the company would have value even if it had to close shop and liquidate its assets.

Walmart (WMT) – This is one I’ll either stay far away from or short. Walmart has had negative earnings growth for the past 3 quarters, and analysts are expecting another profit decline this quarter. Walmart did great during the recession, but now that everyone is more optimistic about the economy, we’ve been seeing growth in higher-end retailers, not discount ones like Walmart.

Nordstrom (JWN) – Nordstrom has been one of the best performing retailers this season, with its stock price up 18.5% year to date. I like Nordstrom as a long term play regardless of how earnings are. They have strong financials, a low price to earnings ratio, and even pay a dividend (currently 1.8% of their stock price or $0.33 a quarter).

Plus, ultimately I think one of the best ways to find stocks to invest in is to start with companies that you already use and love. I am a big fan of Nordstrom for personal shopping (can’t beat their customer service and return policy) and also for stock shopping.

Speaking of shopping, look out for a post soon on China’s “Singles Day” and why it’s driving Alibaba up this week. Hoping this week’s another good one for you all!

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