It's not a perfect world out there for investors.
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)
|8x8 (Nasdaq: EGHT )||$0.04||$0.03||Add|
|eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY )||$0.55||$0.48||Add|
|Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM )||$0.86||$0.73||Add|
|Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG )||$2.30||$1.64||Add|
|Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG )||$3.53||$2.91||Add|
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with 8x8.
It's more than 64, you know. From videoconferencing to virtual private servers, 8x8 provides cloud communications and computing solutions for companies. Enterprises can save some serious money with Web-based communications, and 8x8 is definitely growing. Analysts see growing profitability on a 34% spike in revenue when the tech enabler reports on Wednesday after the market close.
Everyone knows eBay, the verb collector. It is, after all, the company that bought both PayPal and Skype -- though it went on to sell a majority stake in Skype two years ago.
eBay's namesake auction business hit a stumbling block a couple of years ago. The success of Craigslist and the proliferation of free online marketplaces weakened the site's magnetism for sellers, and buyers go where the sellers are.
Many will argue that eBay is no longer the virtual flea market that spawned countless cottage industries a decade ago, and that's certainly a fair knock. However, the site has been showing signs of life in recent quarters. Either way, this story has been mostly about PayPal's success for some time now. Financial-transaction specialist PayPal has exploded since eBay snapped it up. In recent months, we've seen traditional retailers, including Home Depot and Jos. A Bank, begin accepting PayPal at the register, and more brick-and-mortar titans will likely follow.
Qualcomm has been the thinking investor's play through the smartphone boom. Its patent-rich portfolio has served it well. You have to go back three years to find the last time Qualcomm didn't land comfortably ahead of Wall Street's quarterly profit targets, so it's a smart bet that it will earn even more than the $0.86 per share analysts are forecasting for Wednesday's report.
Chipotle Mexican Grill has succeeded where other burrito rollers have failed. The company's lightning-quick assembly line and "food with integrity" mantra have served it well as one of the few eatery chains with more than 1,000 units that have achieved cult status, despite its mainstream push.
Yes, Chipotle is that rare indie band that crosses over into sold-out-stadium territory while keeping its music-buying base of hipster fans.
It really isn't a surprise to see Chipotle on this list. Comps have remained consistently positive, even during the darkest recessionary stretches that left other quick-service eateries tumbling into negative territory. It helps to have a growing fan base that can stomach commodity-price swings being passed on via menu price tweaks.
Finally, we have Intuitive Surgical on the move. The company behind the da Vinci robotic arm system is being used in an expanding number of surgical procedures. Surgeons experience less fatigue. More precise incisions translate into faster recovery times for patients. Hospitals and surgical centers can go through more procedures. Everybody wins.
If Intuitive Surgical is able to meet or beat the $3.53 a share analysts are targeting for its latest quarter -- easily besting the $2.91 a share that it served up a year earlier -- shareholders will be on the winning end as well.
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 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.