It happens every three months. The best firms in the country report earnings that "beat the street", and are rewarded handsomely with higher share prices. But for those reporting revenues and profits that fall short of Wall Street's expectations, look out!

Here are a few companies that were walloped when revenue and/or EPS results fell short of analysts' expectations. The question is, are they now great buys or are they short sale candidates.

IN PICTURES: 8 Ways To Survive A Market Downturn

Prices Slashed
Stock in Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ:INFN) fell off a cliff two weeks ago, just after the company reported its sales and earnings numbers for the quarter. On the day of the release, the stock was smashed by investors to the tune of 35.5%. The shares have recovered only marginally since then.

Infinera is in the business of selling optical networking systems to national and multinational telecom carriers. Year-to-date, the company's shares have grossly underperformed the rest of the networking sector, falling 5.3% since the New Year. By contrast, the iShares S&P GSTI Networking Index Fund (NYSE:IGN), a proxy for the group, has gained 14.4% for the same period.

Infinera pays no dividend and has no P/E ratio because of negative earnings for the last year.

Falling From Heaven
Apollo Group, Inc.
(NASDAQ:APOL) reported earnings that fell short of expectations and were likewise slaughtered. The shares dropped over 23% on the same day and failed to regain any of their losses in the two weeks that followed.

Apollo is in the education business, offering both online and on-campus programs to students globally. With a market cap in excess of $5.5 billion, the company is also an S&P 500 component, but has acted as a drag on the index thus far this year. While the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) is up 6.2% in 2010, Apollo has fallen 38%.

Apollo is currently under investigation by the SEC for potential mishandling of government loans and other irregularities.

Super Wallop
Shares of SuperValu, Inc.
(NYSE:SVU), another S&P 500 component, were pummeled nearly 15% on earnings, a day after missing EPS numbers. SuperValu stock is down almost 16% on the year, but does pay a 3.3% annual dividend.

SuperValu is one of the largest grocery chains in the United States. The company lowered guidance by roughly 20% after delivering the poor report.

The Wrap:
The question on beaten-down issues like these is whether real value is reflected in the new, discounted share price. Investors searching for oversold stocks due for a rebound would do well to start with these companies. (For related reading on indicators to gauge oversold stocks, see Exploring Oscillators and Indicators: RSI.)

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