August can be a pretty hot month, and I'm not just talking about the weather.

I may have been a bit of a worrywart on Friday, when I singled out seven bellwethers that analysts see posting lower quarterly profits this week. However, there will also be plenty of companies that will laugh at the recessionary headwinds and take a few steps forward.

Since I crashed the party over the weekend, I owe it to you to get the celebration started up again. Here are seven companies that analysts see posting healthier bottom lines this week.


Latest Quarter's EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter's EPS

Nuance Communications (NASDAQ:NUAN)





Rackspace Holdings (NYSE:RAX)






Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP)



E-House Holdings (NYSE:EJ)



Blockbuster (NYSE:BBI)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top. If you've ever been frustrated with automated voice prompts when phoning a call center, you were probably cursing at Nuance. The company is a leader in speech recognition. It also dabbles in other areas, such as digital-image conversion. Nuance closed out 2008 with a bang, and it's apparently still rolling through the first half of 2009. Providing companies with cost-saving efficiencies will give you a halo of protection during the lean years.

Either Priceline has been walking on water, or it's been a beast in booking trans-Atlantic flights. Conventional travel portals have faltered during the economic downturn, but Priceline's thriving. Is it the "name your own price" option that's attracting penny-pinching travelers? Is it the slate of offbeat William Shatner ads? Priceline has routinely beaten Wall Street's profit targets, so history suggests that even $1.75 a share may be too low here.

Rackspace is a rapidly growing provider of hosting services, but don't call up these folks to help you with your next party. We're talking about Web hosting here. Rackspace gives companies and budding entrepreneurs an online presence. Its fastest-growing segment is in hosting small cloud-computing applications, even if mainstream hosting does remain its bread and butter.

I hadn't eaten at a Bob Evans in ages, so I relished a rare visit to the comfort-food specialist when I was on the road last month. My whitefish wasn't anything special, but I'll probably find tomorrow's earnings report more appetizing than its menu. Folks are presumably not dining out the way they used to, so I'm dying to see how Bob Evans performs.

Advance Auto Parts is built for economic lulls. When folks are too strapped to spring for new cars, they make sure that their existing cars last longer. That's music to the ears of the auto-parts retailers.

E-House is China's leading real estate agency. The world's most populous nation wasn't immune to the global recession, but it held up better than many. As China's economy continues to catch up to the rest of the world, you can count on seeing its citizenry move in and out of homes and upgrade along the way.

Finally, we have Blockbuster checking in. The DVD-rental chain isn't posting a larger profit. It makes the cut simply by way of the market's assumption that it will lose less money this time around. That's still a bottom-line improvement, and it's just what nervous creditors want to see out of the retailer.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
There's going to be a flurry of earnings reports this week, so naturally you're going to have a few standouts. Some of the names on this list may be surprises, especially given the brutal quarter that the economy just went through and the reluctance of consumers to commit to former levels of discretionary spending. A restaurant chain thriving as we eat out less? A travel portal taking off as we travel less?

It can happen. It probably will happen.

The bad news is that these companies are expected to post improving results. The optimism is already baked into their share prices. That means it's easier for them to slip, but why begin worrying about the companies that we aren't supposed to be worrying about?

As long as Wall Street knows what it's doing, we'll be just fine.


Some other reads to get you through the week:

Rackspace Hosting is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Nuance Communications is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. 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.