Bring on the Killer Z's

There are three things that Zillow (Nasdaq: Z  ) , Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA  ) , and Zipcar (Nasdaq: ZIP  ) all have in common.

  • The real estate website operator, social gaming leader, and car-sharing champ all have names that begin with the letter Z.
  • All three went public last year.
  • All three fast-growing companies will report quarterly earnings this week.

I could offer up a fourth commonality -- that all three are expected to post marginally profitable quarterly results -- but why tie three dynamic companies together longer than they have to be.

Zillow, Zynga, and Zipcar are unique in their own ways.

Analysts see Zillow posting a quarterly profit of $0.01 a share on Wednesday. It may not seem like much, but the company behind its proprietary Zestimates for home price and rent appraisals has been here before. It has blown away profit targets in each of its first two quarterly reports as a public company.

Zipcar reports tomorrow. Auto-sharing has become a hot industry these days.

There's peer-to-peer sharing, where car owners can make a little money by lending out their wheels to neighbors on an hourly basis. Zipcar is the leader when it comes to the more conventional car-sharing that doesn't involve fretting over how a Whopper wrapper got into your glove compartment.

Zipcar is the industry leader here, with roughly 650,000 members as of the end of September. Zipsters -- that's what members call themselves -- can reserve cars by the hour or the day. The rate is as little as $8 an hour and includes gas and insurance.

Analysts see Zipcar breaking even in tomorrow's report. It's at this point that worrywarts should consider what happened three months ago. Zipcar posted a modest profit of $0.02 a share, but Wall Street was banking on a small deficit.

Finally we have Zynga. We don't have a "performance vs. expectations" history with the company behind CityVille and Scramble With Friends because it just went public two months ago.

Zynga was a busted IPO in the single digits until Facebook filed its IPO paperwork late last month. The filing revealed that Zynga accounted for a healthy 12% of Facebook's revenue. As the most accurate of the Facebook coattail-hoppers out there, Zynga is going to draw plenty of attention with tomorrow's report.

At that point, we will have exhausted the end of the alphabet when it comes to 2011's debutantes.

A to Z
Zillow and Zipcar are active recommendations for the Rule Breakers newsletter service. The growth stock service is reaching earlier into the alphabet for what it believes will be its next Rule-Breaking multibagger. It's a free report.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Zipcar. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Zillow and Zipcar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Zipcar. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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