The world is turning, in a good way. The economic news this week has been mostly inspiring, with Germany and France showing surprising growth during the second quarter.

Don't blow it, Mr. Market!

Unfortunately, there are plenty of individual companies that will chime in as killjoys next week. Despite the green shoots, many public companies are sliding down mean chutes.

Let's go over a few of the blue chips and seemingly recession-proof companies where analysts see the arrows pointing down on the bottom line next week. Some of the names may surprise you.


Latest Quarter's EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter's EPS




Lowe's (NYSE:LOW)



Home Depot (NYSE:HD)



Deere (NYSE:DE)






GameStop (NYSE:GME)



H.J. Heinz (NYSE:HNZ)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Several companies will post lower earnings next week, but these are just a few of the names that really jump out at me.

Let's start with Air Media. The company runs an advertising network, with eye-catching monitors that feature sponsored spots between segments of engaging content. This may seem like a moribund niche, but I forgot to mention that Air Media is in China, with deals in place at all of the country's major airports. China's growing faster than the rest of the planet is, and it apparently began to bounce back before the rest of the world did. Earnings should be growing in this climate.

Lowe's and Home Depot report a day apart. Together, they provide the perfect snapshot of the home-improvement industry. Unfortunately, both of the hardware superstores are eyeing year-over-year dips in profitability. Homebuilders may take years to recover, but these retailers should bounce back well before that. As consumer confidence returns, home-improvement projects will make sense for homebound shoppers.

Oh, Deere! The maker of agricultural equipment should be rolling along right now. The world's demand for foodstuffs continues to grow, and that means more farmland to maintain. Sure, Deere is going to have its shortcomings in areas such as construction equipment, but did anyone expect earnings to be cut in half?

Hot Topic is a mall retailer that was on top of the world earlier this year. Holiday sales were brisk, as the company's edgy apparel was cashing in on the counterculture success of the Twilight phenomenon. Teen shoppers can be fickle, though. I urged shareholders to dump the stock in April, as Hot Topic hit a two-year high. I didn't think my pessimism would be vindicated this quickly.

GameStop is another specialty retailer that was rocking earlier this year. The video-game specialist was growing quickly, as folks loaded up on the latest games and consoles. The company's higher-margin resale business was naturally booming, as thrifty diehards were snapping up the cheaper used titles. Demand has dried up in recent months, and even GameStop's juicy resales are apparently feeling the pinch.

Finally, we have Heinz having trouble playing catch-up with the ketchup. It sounds like a broken record at this point, but many of the big brand names are having a hard time growing in this recession. Shoppers are bypassing Heinz in favor of cheaper store-brand condiments. Remember when food stocks were called "recession-proof"? That is so 2008.

Why the long face, short seller?
Many of these stocks are market darlings in seemingly healthy sectors. Chinese growth stocks are buckling? Food giants are backtracking? I guess there's an emo kid with a Hot Topic bag lurking in all of us these days.

There is a silver lining, though. Investors are already braced for the worst with these reports. If there is an upside to this grim list, it's that lower profitability is already baked into next week's reports. The door is open for unexpected surprises.

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

Some other reads to get you through the weekend:

GameStop is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Home Depot and Lowe's are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Heinz is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. 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 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.