I'm not much of a worrywart. I see market slides as opportunities. I jump into my swimming trunks when there's blood in the streets. I've even been known to cheer on the Chicago Cubs from time to time.

But that doesn't mean I never get rattled.

Several market bellwethers have been posting lower quarterly results in recent weeks than they did a year ago, and it's not going to get any better next week. Several blue chips and seemingly recession-proof companies are expected to follow suit with year-over-year declines. So let's go over a few of the companies that have analysts seeing a plunge on the bottom line next week. Some of the names may surprise you.


Latest Quarter EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

Collective Brands (NYSE:PSS)






Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF)



Apollo Investment Group (NASDAQ:AINV)






Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM)



Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
There will probably be several companies posting lower earnings next week, but these are a few of the names that really jump out at me.

Collective Brands is the company behind Payless ShoeSource. In this iffy economic climate, one would expect shoppers to flock to value-minded footwear retailers. Heck, it even has the perfect name! Who doesn't want to pay less? Well, a lot of sole searchers, apparently. Mr. Market sees profitability taking a 30% hit next week.

Altera isn't reporting earnings next week. However, it is providing its mid-quarter update on Monday, and it's usually a great gauge in assessing the current quarter. Altera got a boost earlier this week, when a Citigroup analyst raised his profit target ahead of next week's update. Unfortunately, the analyst stepped up estimates only to $0.17 a share. That's barely ahead of the $0.16-per-share consensus, and it's well behind the $0.32 the company earned a year ago.

Lions Gate should be rocking. Despite the recessionary pressures on disposable income, box office sales are coming in ahead of last year's pace. The bad news for Lions Gate is that folks may be flocking to the multiplex, but they're not checking out recent cinematic duds such as The Haunting in Connecticut and Crank High Voltage.

Apollo Investment Group was booted from the Motley Fool Income Investor scorecard after slashing its dividend earlier this year. The well-regarded business developer invests in private companies by providing them with near-term financing, typically with an equity component. This may not be an ideal time to be lending money, even in the form of secured loans.  

Casual dining is in the dumps, but economic doldrums can sometimes turn into dinner bells for comfort-food specialists such as Bob Evans. Not this time, though. The company posted a quarterly loss three months ago, but it was the result of taking a goodwill impairment hit on its Mimi's Cafe chain. Analysts see another slide next week.

Seeing Williams-Sonoma on this list shouldn't surprise you. Selling luxury kitchen goods in a recession is like marketing galoshes in the desert. Business is supposed to be lousy. Wall Street doesn't just see the retailer putting up lower net income this time -- it sees an outright loss.

Vail Resorts is another no-brainer. When money's tight, you don't exactly pack the skis and hit the slopes. The reason to pay attention to this one is that Vail is in a highly seasonal business. February, March, and April are historically huge for Vail, just before the moribund "mud season" sets in. But even though $1.55 a share in earnings for three months sounds decent, it's an avalanche away from the $2.24 the company earned a year ago.

Why the long face, short seller?
If the earnings news is supposed to be so grim for these companies, why isn't the market in a state of sheer panic? Well, since we're talking about analyst estimates, the bad news has been mostly discounted. Everyone is braced for the profitability dips.

Several of these companies may very well check in with good news. It wouldn't take much of a positive surprise for Apollo or Bob Evans to post a year-over-year improvement next week.

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

Some other reads to get you through the weekend:

Vail Resorts is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders whether his contrarian heart will ever be happy. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.