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

The major market indexes rose sharply last week, and investors are starting to realize that this earnings season may not be so bad after all.

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




Heckmann (NYSE:NES)



SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA)






Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN)



Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with MAKO Surgical. The leading player in orthopedic robotics took a hit last year as sales for its RIO platform slowed. It didn't seem to matter that those who had a RIO system in place were actually using them at a heady clip. The market ignored the validation, choosing instead to fret about cash-strapped hospitals and health care facilities scaling back on new installations.

Well, analysts see MAKO's revenue climbing 26% when it reports tomorrow. They also see the company's quarterly deficit narrowing.

Heckmann is doing more than cleaning up fracking water these days. The environmental services provider expects shareholders to vote at Wednesday's shareholder meeting to change the company's name to Nuverra Environmental Solutions. It would then begin trading under the new ticker symbol NES next week.

Last year's acquisitions of Power Fuels and Thermo Fluids have helped revenue more than double, and after it surprised investors with a quarterly profit last time out, the same pros see a narrowing loss this time around.

SodaStream's popping these days, as the global popularity of its namesake soda-making system grows. Skeptics who wrote off the Israeli company as the maker of a faddish novelty product have had to tweak their bearish arguments, and major beverage brands have been teaming up on licensing deals to put out SodaStream flavors.

SodaStream has been a pretty consistent beater of Wall Street's profit targets since going public three years ago, so it wouldn't be a surprise if it manages to grow its bottom line by more than the 13% clip that analysts are forecasting this time around.

Groupon isn't dead, despite general sluggishness in its flagship daily-deals model. The fallen dot-com darling may be trading well below its 2011 IPO price of $20, but Groupon's been able to expand its breadth of services to the local merchants that it's been servicing.

Analysts see an uptick in profitability and a modest gain in revenue.

Finally, we have Dendreon. The drugmaker behind Provenge -- an expensive yet intriguing treatment for late-stage prostate cancer -- excited investors with a sequential uptick in its flagship drug in its most recent quarter, but it did warn of softness for the quarter that it will be reporting on come Thursday.

Wall Street's holding out for a narrowing quarterly loss, though naturally it will also want to know which way Provenge sales have been trending.

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.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends MAKO Surgical and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dendreon, Heckmann, and SodaStream and has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $4 Calls on Heckmann and Short Jan 2014 $3 Puts on Heckmann. 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.