As the heart of earnings season approaches, some stocks are expected to move a lot more than they have in recent years.
A study by MKM Partners' derivatives strategy team found that eight stocks are expected to see moves on earnings that are far larger than their average historical reactions.
Examining U.S. stocks that report earnings in the next month, have a market capitalization greater than $1 billion and robust options trading, MKM found the companies with the biggest implied reactions on earnings. Within that group, eight stocks stand out, with implied moves far bigger than their average-post earnings move over the past eight quarters.
The stock with the biggest expected move in the period covering earnings is MannKind, with a 17.8 percent implied move in the period covering earnings, versus a 3.4 percent average move over the past eight quarters. However, it is worth noting that this big expected move may not merely be about quarterly results, as the pharmaceutical company is in the midst of rolling out an inhaled insulin drug, Afrezza, and the stock has become much more volatile over the past three months.
Similarly, the stock with the second-biggest implied earnings move "premium" over its recent history is insurance company MBIA, which has plunged over Puerto Rico-related concerns.
However, to the extent that options traders are expecting a much larger-than-normal move on earnings alone, the implicit strategy is clear.
"Absent any known catalysts other than earnings, the straightforward way to exploit the spread between implied and realized earnings moves would be via selling options," MKM derivative strategist Jim Strugger wrote to CNBC.