5 Reasons to Worry About Next Week

The economy is showing signs of fumbling the recovery.

For starters, are you feeling the frothiness in the housing market? This week's S&P/Case-Shiller report showed that home prices in March posted their largest year-over-year gain since 2006. Does anyone remember what happened in the housing market after 2006's frenzied pace of house flipping?

The news isn't just iffy on the macro level. There are also more than a few companies that aren't pulling their own weight in this supposed economic recovery.

There are still plenty of names posting lower earnings than they did a year ago. Let's go over a few of the companies that are expected to go the wrong way on the bottom line next week.

Company

Latest Quarter EPS (estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

SAIC (NYSE: SAI  )

$0.26

$0.35

Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV  )

($0.13)

($0.08)

VeriFone (NYSE: PAY  )

$0.47

$0.64

Hovnanian (NYSE: HOV  )

($0.05)

$0.02

Ciena (NYSE: CIEN  )

($0.01)

$0.04

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with SAIC. Being a government services contractor isn't easy these days. Forget about the sequestration. There was a mandate to curb spending long before the automatic cuts kicked in. Analysts see SAIC's revenue taking a 7% hit when it reports on Monday, and earnings are expected to take an even bigger drop.

Bazaarvoice isn't what you sound like after inhaling a blast of helium. This is actually a company that helps clients leverage social online data into actionable improvements. Bazaarvoice is also a busted IPO. The fast-growing but profitless company went public at $12 last year. The good news is that Bazaarvoice has posted narrower-than-expected deficits in every quarter since going public. The bad news is that it's still posting those deficits, and -- for now -- Wall Street sees the red ink growing.

VeriFone provides electronic payment solutions, but it's been having problems getting paid these days. The stock took a hit earlier this year when it blamed order delays and setbacks in certain geographic regions for soft results.

The pros aren't betting on an easy recovery at VeriFone. They see revenue sliding by 8% when it reports on Wednesday with earnings taking a more pronounced 27% hit.

Hovnanian is a homebuilder, and if you caught the S&P/Case-Shiller report that I singled out earlier -- showing that home prices have staged their largest year-over-year advance since April 2006 -- you would think that Hovnanian is rolling in money. Well, not every developer is thriving the same way. Yes, analysts do see a 20% uptick in revenue at Hovnanian. However, those same Wall Streeters see Hovnanian reversing its year-ago profit with a small loss this time around.

Finally, we have Ciena. The networking solutions provider is in the same boat as Hovnanian, pegged to post a small loss this quarter after cranking out a modest profit during the same period last year. Ciena has actually come up short on the bottom line in two of the past three quarters, so it probably wouldn't be a surprise if it delivered a larger loss than the $0.01-a-share consensus.

Why the long face, short-seller?
These companies have seen better days. The market has rewarded many of these stocks with reasonable gains over the past year, but they still haven't earned those upticks. Lower earnings translates into higher earnings multiples, and nobody wants to see that happen.

The good news here is that Wall Street already expects these companies to deliver shrinking bottom lines. In other words, the bad news is already baked into the shares.

The more I think about it, the less worried I become.

Closing things out on a positive note
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