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Late-inning earnings plays
This week we are in the late innings of the third-quarter earnings season with plenty of companies still left to report. A couple of major credit card companies will be releasing earnings, as will some major oil and gas companies. Here are four names for traders to keep an eye on.

After the market close on Wednesday, Visa (V -0.69%) will announce its results. Analysts expect the payment-processing company to report an 18.1% rise in earnings per share (EPS) on a 12.2% gain in total revenue from a year ago.

This stock has been on a tear and is up 36.2% year-to-date. Traders can expect the success to continue post-release. Visa has come in with slight earnings beats in each of the last four quarters. A miss would slow the stock’s momentum, but don't count on it happening this week.

Technical indicators for Visa are very bullish. The 50-day moving average has been well above the 200-day moving average since the beginning of the year. Another upside surprise and the stock could go parabolic. Traders still need to protect themselves against downside risk by having reasonable stops in place. Stock Traders Daily's Visa trading report can help them decide on acceptable levels of risk.

Visa rival Mastercard (MA +0.40%) is also scheduled to report on Wednesday. The consensus on Wall Street is for a 5.3% improvement in EPS on a 6.7% rise in total revenue. Traders can bet on an earnings beat from Mastercard and it may be enough to stop the stock's recent decline.

Despite its fall from $486.08 to below $453, MA's 50-day moving average has also stayed above its 200-day moving average for all of 2012. Stock Traders Daily's trading report provides traders additional details on a technical level that this stock should not breach if it is to achieve a rally.

The independent energy powerhouse Hess Corp. (HES +2.87%) has delayed its earnings release from Wednesday to Friday. Analysts are predicting that the company will post a 6.3% improvement in EPS on a 5.2% uptick in total revenue.

Hess should be viewed as a wildcard. Its technical indicators are impressive as its 50-day moving recently eclipsed its 200-day moving average, but traders should remain wary. The company has surprised to the downside in three of its last four quarters. If traders insist on taking a long position prior to the release, key levels contained in Stock Traders' Hess trading report can help in setting appropriate stop-loss orders.

Another oil and gas company to watch is Suncor Energy (SU +0.52%), which reports after the close on Wednesday. Analysts expect Suncor to post EPS of $0.74 versus $1.13 a year ago. Total revenue is projected to decline by 7.4%. Last month, this stock experienced a technical breakthrough with the 50-day moving average cutting above the 200-day moving average. With the stock's current trajectory, traders can expect longer-term resistance levels to come into play. Traders can gain insight into these levels by reviewing Stock Traders' Suncor trading report.

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