A new week is here, and it's easy to fret. After three months of rallying equities, Wall Street is starting to feel vulnerable. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all fell sharply last week, in what was the market's first down week in more than a month.

I also closed out the week highlighting seven different bellwethers that are stepping up to the earnings podium this week, and they're all expected to post lower earnings than they did a year earlier.

Not everything will be bad over the next five trading days, though.

Thankfully, there are still some companies growing their bottom lines, even in this dicey economic climate. Let's go over seven publicly traded companies that are expected to stand tall this week. 


Latest Quarter's EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter's EPS

Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC)



Kroger (NYSE:KR)



Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI)



Lennar (NYSE:LEN)






McCormick (NYSE:MKC)






Source: Yahoo! Finance. EPS = earnings per share.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top. Smith & Wesson shares reports after the market closes today, and the report will probably be strong. In fact, the company has already let some of the good news out of the bag. The 157-year-old pistol maker's stock soared 22% on Friday, after the company announced that revenue spiked by 20%. Smith & Wesson also has a $200 million backlog in orders for its signature firearms. All of this news bodes well for the company as we head into tonight's 5 p.m. ET conference call.

Kroger is a supermarket chain that has rewarded shareholders with market-thumping returns over the years. It's also pretty much recession-proof. Spending on groceries is a necessity, and consumers will give up many leisurely luxuries before letting the dinner table go bare.

Darden is a surprising name on this list, because it's at the opposite end of the Kroger story: Darden is the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster. If penny-pinchers are dining at home, they aren't going to be downing seafood specials and Italian breadsticks at Darden's properties. Yet Wall Street seems to like the restaurateur's chances this week. And before you suggest that analysts are aiming too high here, consider that Darden has blown past the market's profit targets in the previous two quarters.

Lennar and KB Home aren't just the only two homebuilders on the list. They are also the only two companies on this list for which shareholders are already braced for substantial losses. The key distinction is that these companies are projected to post narrower deficits -- and in KB Home's case, substantially narrower deficits -- than the residential developers rang up a year ago.

McCormick is probably a familiar name in your cupboard. The spice-and-seasonings giant is supposed to post a modest bottom-line advance this quarter. Between the "all-weather" nature of its business and a dependable 3% dividend yield, it's easy to sprinkle a dash of McCormick onto that optimism casserole.

Finally, TIBCO should prove that there's growth to be found, even in corporate-fueled software. The on-demand business-intelligence company posted a small gain in profitability three months ago. Shareholders are counting on a repeat performance.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
These seven companies are the unheralded heroes. One can argue that these stocks deserve their gains in recent months, unlike the equities that have risen despite posting year-over-year declines on the bottom line.

They're not slam dunks, unfortunately. There's a reason we always have to wait for the actual quarterly reports. Surprises will happen, and they occur on both ends of the spectrum.

Some of these stocks, including Kroger and McCormick, are expected to post only marginal improvements over last year's reports. Even Smith & Wesson, which pulled back the curtain to reveal most of its latest quarter's performance last week, can always disappoint when it comes to profitability tonight.

Things are looking up for these companies, but these stocks also have more pressure on them than the seven sinkers I singled out on Friday. These companies are expected to post improving results. Since the optimism is already baked into their share prices, it becomes easier for them to slip, but why begin worrying about the companies that we aren't supposed to be worrying about?

Cross those fingers, and hope the analysts know what they're doing.

Some other reads to get you through the week:

McCormick is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz prefers to look at the bright side of life -- and strife. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story and 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.