5 stocks that pop during earnings season

Earnings season often leads to fireworks in the stock market, and this current season probably will be no exception.

As Wall Street gears up for more trading volatility around individual stocks, here are some of the names that traders may want to pay extra attention to, given how they’ve traded after earnings announcements.

Some of the stocks are upside standouts, and some have taken the biggest hits. Stocks in the large cap S&P 500 index were evaluated based upon how they traded in the first full trading session after an earnings release, and the average return was calculated over the past four seasons.

Highest Average Price Performance on Earnings

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Avg.
GMCR Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. 13 26.2 14.1 -3.5 12.5
PBI Pitney Bowes Inc. 6.9 19 8 12.8 11.6
FB Facebook, Inc. Class A -0.8 14.1 2.4 29.6 11.3
EA Electronic Arts Inc. 21 1.4 7.7 6.7 9.2
CMG Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. -5.9 11.7 16.1 8.6 7.6
ADBE Adobe Systems Incorporated 8.2 -1.3 12.8 9.2 7.2
KORS Michael Kors Holdings Ltd 1.3 17.3 5.8 3.7 7
ALXN Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2.5 21.1 6.4 -2 7
HAR Harman International Industries, Incorporated -2 17.4 12.5 -0.8 6.8

Among the best performing stocks was Chipotle Mexican Grill. The fast-casual restaurant chain has posted an average gain of nearly 8 percent after reporting earnings over the last four quarters. Shares got a big boost last fall when the company reported big revenue gains and more store openings.The stock shot up 16 percent on Oct. 18, and has posted positive days in three out of the last four quarterly reports.

The fourth best-performing stock was Electronic Arts, posting an average post-earnings performance of 9 percent. The video game maker has posted gains on the heels of its last four earnings reports, and rose an impressive 21 percent on May 7. It’s one of only 24 stocks in the entire S&P 500 that have gained after four straight earnings reports.

Investors expressed optimism that EA’s turnaround efforts were taking hold and that its focus on its digital business would yield results. According to Factset average analyst forecasts, shares could rise another 5 percent in the coming months.

Read More Will earnings tell the story markets need to hear?

On the flip side, a number of stocks have been out-sized losers during each of their quarterly reports. The third-worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 using our criteria was Whole Foods Market, losing an average of nearly 10 percent.

Last quarter, the company posted an earnings day loss of 19 percent after cutting comparable store sales and earnings forecasts, citing increased competition. Whole Foods is one of just 32 companies in the S&P 500 that have posted four straight earnings-day losses.

The second-worst average earnings day performer was cosmetics company Avon, also down nearly 10 percent on average. Sales have been declining, and the company has blamed a drop in active representatives selling product among other things.

Shares have lost 35 percent of their value over the last year. It’s also on the list of stocks that have posted four straight quarters of earnings day stock drops.

Read More Look for strong numbers when retailers report

Lowest Average Price Performance on Earnings

Click to edit Click to edit Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Avg.
SPLS Staples, Inc. -12.5 -15.3 -1.6 -15.3 -11.2
AVP Avon Products, Inc. -10.2 -3.1 -21.9 -3.7 -9.7
WFM Whole Foods Market, Inc. -18.8 -7.2 -11.2 -0.8 -9.5
COH Coach, Inc. -9.3 -6 -7.5 -7.9 -7.7
JBL Jabil Circuit, Inc. 2.6 -2.8 -20.5 -9.9 -7.7
ISRG Intuitive Surgical, Inc. -11.5 -6.4 -5.7 -6.8 -7.6
BBY Best Buy Co., Inc. 3.4 -28.6 -11 13.2 -5.7
THC Tenet Healthcare Corporation 0 -9.1 -8.8 -3.8 -5.4
BBBY Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. -7.2 -6.2 -12.5 4.5 -5.3

And the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 after earnings day is Staples, another stock that has lost value after each of the last 4 earnings reports.

In the case of Staples, the average decline has been 11 percent. The company has cited weak traffic, driven away by e-commerce retailers like Amazon, for its big earnings misses.

While macroeconomic concerns are and always will be part of the markets, earnings season puts at least some, if not most of the spotlight back in individual company stories.

And for many investors, this latest round of quarterly reports will help determine if upside trends can continue. It may also help provide clarity on whether or not management efforts to turn around struggling businesses will take hold.

—By Elizabeth Schulze and Dominic Chu. Giovanny Moreano and Gina Francolla contributed to this report.

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