5 Reasons Not to Worry This Week

It's not a perfect world out there for investors, but things may be starting to get better.

Sure, the market tanked for a second consecutive week, and the fiscal cliff concerns continue as we barrel toward the end of the year. But does anyone really believe that either political party will let that happen? The recovery is just starting to gain momentum.

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.

Company

Latest-Quarter EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago-Quarter EPS

My

Watchlist

Krispy Kreme (NYSE: KKD  )

$0.08

$0.07

Add

Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB  )

$0.85

$0.82

Add

Eaton Vance (NYSE: EV  )

$0.48

$0.40

Add

Hormel Foods (NYSE: HRL  )

$0.50

$0.43

Add

Medtronic (NYSE: MDT  )

$0.88

$0.84

Add

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Krispy Kreme.

The doughnut maker has had its ups and downs since going public a dozen years ago. The "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign may be flashing wherever the stores are cranking out fresh rings of glazed goodness, but there hasn't been a "Hot Doughnut Stock Now" sign flashing for ages. Excluding one fleeting intraday moment two summers ago, Krispy Kreme shares have been waffling about in the single digits for the past five years.

Things are starting to get better. Krispy Kreme has been posting year-over-year earnings improvement for five consecutive quarters. The gain may not seem like much this time around -- analysts forecast a mere $0.08 a share in net income after last year's profit of $0.07 per share -- but it still keeps the company moving in the right direction.

Campbell Soup is also starting to heat up. Beyond its signature soups, Campbell Soup is also the company behind V8 veggie-packed beverages, Pace salsas, and Pepperidge Farm sweets.

Wall Street is eyeing modest growth at Campbell Soup when the company reports tomorrow, but the smart money has to be on a beat. Campbell Soup has landed ahead of analyst profit projections every single quarter over the past year. The positive surprises haven't been by much -- between 3% and 8% of what Wall Street has been targeting. However, that's a strong enough trend to expect the company to earn slightly more than the $0.85 a share that the market is holding out for this week.

Eaton Vance, meanwhile, is a mutual-fund operator in an industry that has had it rough lately. The equity markets may have been generally rallying for three years, but the popularity of exchange-traded funds with low expense ratios has eaten into the appeal of traditional mutual funds.

The trend also doesn't bode well for Eaton Vance. The company has actually come up short in the two previous quarters.

Hormel joins Campbell Soup as supermarket aisle royalty. Beyond the company's signature ham, SPAM, and chili products, Hormel is also the company behind Jennie-O turkey eats and Wholly Guacamole dips.

Finally, we have Medtronic on the way up. Medical products don't get the same kind of glitz as biotechs, but don't assume that Medtronic isn't raising the bar on innovation. On Friday Medtronic announced the first treatment of a U.S. patient for its minimally invasive CoreValve system for surgical aortic-valve replacement in patients with severe aortic stenosis.

Analysts see Medtronic earning $0.88 a share when it reports tomorrow -- just ahead of the $0.84 a share it registered a year earlier.

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.

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