It's not a perfect world out there for investors.
Even though 81% of the S&P 500 companies that have already reported quarterly profits this season have landed ahead of Wall Street expectations -- according to Thomson Reuters data -- the outlook is still iffy.
Existing home sales fell last month. New claims for unemployment benefits may have declined, but not as much as economists were forecasting. Europe is, well, still being Europe.
I recently went over some of the companies that are expected to post lower quarterly profits when they report this week.
Thankfully, they're the exceptions and not the rule. Let's go over some publicly traded companies that are expected to stand tall this week by posting year-over-year improvement on the bottom line.
Latest-Quarter EPS (estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
|Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL )||$10.00||$6.40||Add|
|Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU )||$0.84||$0.47||Add|
|Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX )||$0.26||$0.24||Add|
|Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI )||($0.39)||($0.69)||Add|
|Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS )||$0.59||$0.37||Add|
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Apple.
Despite Apple tumbling badly over the past two weeks, analysts continue to inch their projections higher. Three months ago Wall Street figured that Apple would earn just $8 a share during the first three months of this calendar year. Last month that target was up to $9.75 a share, and up yet again to $9.89 a share as of last week. Over the weekend, analysts were forecasting an even $10 a share in earnings when Apple reports tomorrow afternoon.
The trend bodes well for a strong report, even if Apple's stock has taken back-to-back hits over the past two weeks.
Baidu is the dot-com darling of China. The country's leading search engine -- commanding a whopping 78% share of the lucrative market -- has been a market winner, even last year, when many of China's other growth stocks cratered.
The key to Baidu's success has been its stellar growth. The nearly 80% bottom-line growth that analysts expect from Baidu when it reports tomorrow night isn't a fluke. That kind of growth tear is typical of what the Chinese speedster has delivered over the years.
Crocs isn't just about those ugly-yet-comfortable shoes that were all the rage several years ago. Sure, Crocs still makes those hole-filled shoes in loud colors, but head out to the company's website and you'll find stylish golf shoes, heeled pumps, and even boots. Crocs has defied the skeptics that wrote the company off as a passing craze.
Human Genome Sciences turned heads last week, turning down an unsolicited buyout offer from one of the largest drugmakers in the world. The rebuffed offer of $13 a share serves to validate the profitless company. Yes, Human Genome Sciences isn't expected to turn a profit when it reports on Wednesday -- but at least the deficits are narrowing.
Finally we have Las Vegas Sands. The casino operator has attracted growth investors given its prominent role in the red-hot Macau gaming scene. The fundamentals are proving that the house always wins. Wall Street sees revenue climbing 23% -- and earnings soaring by an even more impressive 59% -- when Las Vegas Sands reports on Wednesday.
Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these five stocks have a right to be excited. They are all improving their financial situations. They are worthy of the gains that the market rally has bestowed upon them over the past year.
I wouldn't be uncomfortable owning any of these companies. They're doing the right thing, regardless of Mr. Market's mood swings.
The expectations may be high, but these five stocks wouldn't have it any other way.