If you thought the rally that began in mid-March is running out of steam, pull up a chart.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has rattled off five consecutive positive trading days, and hit a new closing high for the year last night.

Cheer. Rejoice.


The market is ripe for a breather. As fate would have it, there are several earnings reports due up next week that may justify a market pullback. 

Let's go over a few of the blue chips and seemingly recession-proof companies for which 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

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY)



Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE)



CKE Restaurants (NYSE:CKR)



Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR)



Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS)









Source: Yahoo! Finance.

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

Let's start with Best Buy. When Circuit City was liquidated earlier this year, Best Buy seemed to be the logical candidate for gobbling up the market share. But folks just don't have the discretionary income to snap up plasma televisions and high-end refrigerators right now. Best Buy has historically feasted on low-ticket media, but CDs, DVDs, and video games are all feeling the pinch, too.

Adobe is the undisputed champ when it comes to desktop publishing. Many of Adobe's wares -- Acrobat, Photoshop, and Flash -- are industry standards in their respective niches. Aren't we all migrating online? Aren't we consuming more of Adobe's PDF files or Flash videos than ever? Apparently all that viewing isn't making its way to Adobe's bottom line.

CKE Restaurants should be in burger heaven. The restaurateur behind the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's chains should be rocking alongside the golden arches. It seems that not every fast-food concept has mastered the art of building profits during recessionary times.

Herman Miller is a name that shouldn't be doing well in this environment: It sells premium office furniture. So until companies begin hiring again, Herman Miller's going to be in a funk. Analysts see the furniture giant earning just $0.18 a share on Wednesday, less than a third of last year's quarterly profit. 

Discover, of course, is a credit card company. Pushing plastic during debt-tightening times isn't easy, although the larger credit-card marketers are holding up a lot better. Wall Street sees red ink at Discover next week.

FedEx is another company smarting over the corporate slowdown. Obviously, it's also being hurt as more documents are transmitted online. However, online retailers are gaining market share, and FedEx is there for the speediest of parcel deliveries.

Finally, we have Palm. Wasn't the Pre supposed to be the company's lottery ticket? New rollouts are rarely cheap, but should Palm's deficit be more than doubling? We can only hope the company has some inspiring news on initial Palm sales -- or at least a good read on the buzz behind its new Pixi smartphone.

Why the long face, short-seller?
These reports won't be as sweet as funnel cakes, caramel apples, and other carnival fare. Many of these stocks are market darlings in seemingly healthy sectors, to boot. A smartphone company sporting widened losses? A burger chain holding the momentum? A consumer-electronics chain that can't take advantage of a vanquished rival? This isn't going to be an attractive quarter, no matter how you Photoshop it.   

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

Best Buy and FedEx are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Discover and Best Buy are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy. 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.