Earnings season is one of the most exciting times to be involved in the share market as it often throws up a number of unexpected surprises. This not only creates valuable buying opportunities, but it can also confirm or disprove the story behind a given investment.

With that in mind, here are four shares that have really caught my attention during this earnings season so far and ones that I think could be worthy of a $5,000 investment.

Amaysim Australia Ltd (ASX: AYS)

The low-cost telco delivered an impressive full year result that was driven by continued sharp growth in its subscriber base and an improvement in gross margins. Although investors appeared to be disappointed by Amaysim’s first half result, the full year result looks like it has helped to ease investor concerns regarding subscriber growth and this should be a catalyst to drive the share price higher. The shares trade on an attractive valuation for a telecommunications company and also provide a respectable trailing dividend yield of 3.9%.

Smart Parking Ltd (ASX: SPZ)

Smart Parking might only have a market capitalisation of around $80 million, but I think it has the potential to revolutionise the way we park our cars in urban areas. The company became EBITDA profitable for the first time in FY16, and unlike many other small cap technology companies, generated sales revenue in excess of $31 million. Recent contract wins will help to boost Smart Parking’s bottom line in FY17 and there is also a pipeline of new projects that are expected to commence over the next 12 months.

Mantra Group Ltd (ASX: MTR)

The market has been quite unsure about Mantra over the past few months, but from my perspective, its full-year result showed that the company is still moving in the right direction. The hotel operator beat its own earnings guidance and forecast FY17 earnings growth of around 20%. The shares currently trade on a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of less than 20, which should be quite attractive for investors looking to gain exposure to the growing tourism sector.

Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF)

Challenger has been a great performer over the past couple of years and its latest profit result certainly didn’t disappoint investors. The company continues to grow its core annuity business and also delivered strong results from its funds management business. The tailwinds supporting the annuity business are expected to persist over the next decade or so and Challenger’s market-leading position means it is well placed to capitalise on this massive opportunity. The shares are also reasonably valued, trading on a P/E ratio of less than 15 and offering a dividend yield of 3.5%.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of Amaysim and MANTRA GRP FPO. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.