We may be several decades away from a time when Bernard Madoff can hurt you again, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's safe to tiptoe back into the market.

Despite the nearly incessant market rallies since mid-March, not every company is living up to the market's enthusiastic rise. If improving prospects elevate stock prices, why are so many companies' shares headed in the opposite direction? Looking over the meager list of companies slated to post their quarterly results at the other end of this holiday weekend, you'll notice that most of the widely followed equities are projected to announce lower net income year over year.

Let's go over a few of the companies whose quarterly date with Mr. Market may leave investors dismayed:


Latest Quarter EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

PriceSmart (NASDAQ:PSMT)



Alcoa (NYSE:AA)



International Speedway (NASDAQ:ISCA)






Chevron (NYSE:CVX)






Shaw Group (NYSE:SGR)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

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

PriceSmart runs a chain of warehouse clubs throughout the Caribbean and Central America. Isn't this a global recession? Aren't shoppers seeking out bulk-sized bargains worldwide? Yes, and comps and sales were up at PriceSmart for the month of May, as they have been for the retailer's entire fiscal year. Unfortunately, analysts don't see profitability moving in the same direction.

Alcoa, on the other hand, isn't supposed to be doing well. Aluminum demand is a slave to the economy. FBR Capital Markets downgraded the stock earlier this week. However, Alcoa isn't just seeing a drop in profits. All 16 major analysts tracking the company see red ink at Alcoa come Wednesday.

International Speedway is a motorsports promoter -- the company behind the Daytona 500. The economy is in a funk, but folks are still splurging for affordable escapes like multiplex outings. International Speedway, unfortunately, doesn't appear to be going along for the ride.

WD-40 is a surprising name. Recession or not, are you really going to put up with a squeaky door? Beyond its signature all-purpose lubricant, WD-40's other brands include Lava cleanser and 2000 Flushes toilet deodorizer. This should be a recession-resistant company, but clearly "the can with thousands of uses" can't restore growth to its maker's bottom line.

Chevron's a petroleum giant. Prices at the pump have been inching higher heading into the summer travel season, but that's not improving Chevron's prospects for its latest quarter, apparently.

3Com is no longer the tech bellwether it once was. Wall Street sees a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of barely half what 3Com brought home last year. Investors may want to take heart here, though. Analysts also figured that 3Com was only good for a nickel a year ago, too.

Shaw is a Fortune 500 conglomerate. Cost overruns at a coal plant stung the engineering and construction heavyweight three months ago. The prognosis doesn't look good as we barrel toward next week's quarterly numbers.

Why the long face, short-seller?
If these sound like seven sob stories, they're largely indicative of the many companies with shrinking bottom lines. The upside for investors here is that Wall Street is realistic. It's expecting bad news. The real surprise here would be healthy reports.

That's not an entirely impossible feat, and it wouldn't take much of a positive surprise for some of the companies like PriceSmart or Shaw to post year-over-year improvement next week. 3Com has blown past Wall Street's profit targets for seven consecutive quarters.

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

Some other reads to get you through the weekend:

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders whether his contrarian heart will ever be happy. He does not own 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.