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)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
|Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU )
|Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL )
|Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM )
|Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS )
|Coinstar (Nasdaq: CSTR )
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Baidu.
China's leading search engine will be reporting its latest quarterly results after today's close.
Unlike some of the slower moving online companies closer to home, Baidu's still growing at a heady pace. Analysts see revenue soaring 61% for the quarter. Those same pros see a profit of $1.12 a share out of Baidu, but bulls will quickly add that profit targets on the dot-com darling have been conservative in the past. You have to go back three years to find the last time that Baidu didn't land ahead of the market's bottom-line forecasts.
Apple reports tomorrow.
Something unusual has been happening at Apple lately. Analysts who typically begin inching their profit targets higher heading into an Apple report have actually been gnawing away at their estimates. A week ago the average estimate was for the world's most valuable tech company to earn $1.39 a share. Now the mark to beat is $1.35 a share.
Akamai is the top dog when it comes to content-delivery networks. Armed with a growing fleet of servers, Akamai is there to speed up the Internet experience for its page-serving clients by offering up cached pages and faster media file downloads. This has become a cutthroat specialty in recent years, but Wall Street still believes that Akamai will earn just enough to post a small gain.
Las Vegas Sands is the casino operator that has gone from being a ho-hum old-school gambling play in Nevada to a thinking investor's play on the booming casino market in Macau. The house doesn't always win, but it seems as if it will play out that way for Las Vegas Sands when it reports on Wednesday.
Finally, we have Coinstar checking in on Thursday. Forget the name. Coinstar may be named after the coin-slurping kiosks that trade loose change for gift certificates, but most of its business these days comes from its growing arsenal of Redbox rental machines.
Despite a 20% rate increase late last year on its DVD rentals, the machines that spit out DVDs, Blu-rays, and video games are as popular as ever. Whether the success has come as the result of traditional video stores closing down or Web-savvy players shifting their attention to digital delivery of celluloid, Coinstar isn't going to complain.
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.