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Vornado did what it needed to do yesterday. Now it's time for the biggest day of our 4Q18 earnings cycle, with six stocks reporting their numbers

With half of our universe now across the quarterly line, winners outnumber losers 14 to 10 but the aggregate gain remains relatively small as huge upside surprises like Paycom Software, Apple, Expedia and Facebook only narrowly outperform declines from Twitter, the Carlyle Group and others.

Today can easily boost our score for the season as long as the market is in the mood to applaud -- and based on the strength we saw from futures overnight, that's the mood that awaits us this morning. Either way, the numbers will come fast and furious so we aren't going to luxuriate over the details here. Today is all about the headline comparisons, pure and simple.

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Earnings Preview: Ares Capital (ARCC: $16.54, up 1% yesterday)

Earnings Date: Tuesday, 8:00 AM ET

Expectations: 4Q18
Revenue: $323 million
Net Profit: $174 million
EPS: $0.41

Year Ago Quarter Results
Revenue: $307 million
Net Profit: $161 million
EPS: $0.38

Implied Revenue Growth: 5%
Implied EPS Growth: 8%

Target: $19
Sell Price: $15
Date Added: November 17, 2018
BMR Performance: -2%

Key Things To Watch For in the Quarter

The first quarter Ares spends on our screen will almost certainly be an easy one. If revenue doesn't keep ramping up, we'll be shocked. And because the company is definitely profitable at this scale, the only question is how much that additional cash flow will impact the bottom line. We're looking for every 1% in revenue growth to turn into nearly 2% in additional profit. Simple but satisfying. And loving that 9.4% dividend.

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Earnings Preview: Shopify (SHOP: $173, up 2%)

Earnings Date: Tuesday, 8:00 AM ET

Expectations: 4Q18
Revenue: $307 million
Net Profit: $22 million
EPS: $0.20

Year Ago Quarter Results
Revenue: $222 million
Net Profit: $14 million
EPSS: $0.15

Implied Revenue Growth: 50%
Implied EPS Growth: 33%

Target: $182
Sell Price: $152
Date Added: March 29, 2017
BMR Performance: 141%

Key Things To Watch For in the Quarter

The holiday quarter is always the big one for this Electronic Commerce company but this one can be a true once-in-a-lifetime moment as 50% revenue growth turns into profit once again. From here on out the year-over-year earnings comparisons get a little more challenging so additional sources of growth will be welcome. Nonetheless, with most of 2018 being a struggle to break even, any improvement at all in 2019 will easily fuel triple-digit earnings expansion. That's a growth rate that can support a big multiple and take Shopify even higher. Our Target of $182 is in sight. All-time high is $180. Look out.

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Earnings Preview: Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI: $39, up 2%)

Earnings Date: Tuesday, 8:00 AM ET

Expectations: 4Q18
Revenue: $225 million
Net Profit: $93 million
EPS: $0.49
Funds From Operations: $0.76

Year Ago Quarter Results
Revenue: $220 million
Net Profit: $84 million
EPS: $0.42
Funds From Operations: $0.79

Implied Revenue Growth: 1%
Implied EPS Growth: 16%
Implied Funds From Operations Decline: 
2%

Target: $45
Sell Price: $28
Date Added: March 22, 2016
BMR Performance: 34%

Key Things To Watch For in the Quarter

Weakness is behind us as Omega Healthcare Investors and the Medical Real Estate industry as a whole finally move past a year of rising interest rates and overcapacity in the Senior Housing market in particular. This company is growing again for the first time since summer. At this rate we'll be looking for dividend increases to start back up soon. But we're pretty happy with the current 6.7% dividend.

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Earnings Preview: New Residential (NRZ: $16.80, down 1%)

Earnings Date: Tuesday, 8:00 AM ET

Expectations: $Q18
Revenue: $225 million
Net Profit: $193 million
EPS: $0.55

Year Ago Quarter Results
Revenue: $235 million
Net Profit: $189 million
EPS: $0.61

Implied Revenue Decline: 5%
Implied EPS Decline: 10%

Target: $19.50
Sell Price: $17
Date Added: April 27, 2018
BMR Performance: 7%

Key Things To Watch For in the Quarter

We've been steeled for a year-over-year decline here since interest rates started rising. The good news is that with the Fed pausing, our expectations have brightened significantly in the last nine months. We were looking for a full 18% earnings decline early last year. Now that deterioration looks much more limited.

For all practical purposes, management has found a way to keep the comparisons close to flat. And if the pressure that brought New Residential down to 8X earnings has evaporated, there's room here to see the stock return to a more normal valuation. The dividend is still close to extraordinary at 11.8%.