Did I go too far last week?

Countering the market's bubbly enthusiasm on Friday, I singled out seven bellwethers that analysts see posting lower quarterly profits this week. Things may be bad, but they're not that bad. In fact, several companies are growing in this recessionary climate.

Since I was a downer over the weekend, let me pick things up. Here are seven companies that analysts see posting healthier bottom lines this week.


Latest Quarter's EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter's EPS

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (NASDAQ:CBRL)



Peerless Manufacturing (NASDAQ:PMFG)



Kroger (NYSE:KR)



Dress Barn (NASDAQ:DBRN)









Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top. The casual-dining industry is still meandering, but the market sees bottom-line improvement at Cracker Barrel. The chain of comfort-food eateries with attached country stores is typically a summer standout. Since it locates its restaurants near bustling highways, it's a logical resting stop on road trips.

Peerless has the distinction of enjoying the highest five-star rating in Motley Fool CAPS. It also deals in clean energy, a hot niche that promises to heat up even more as homes and industries look for ways to curb greenhouse gases and other air contaminants.

Kroger is one of the leading supermarket operators. Grocery stores are somewhat recession-resistant, since consumers still need to eat. They also cash in when thrifty shoppers trade down from premium third-party brands to cheaper store-brand alternatives.

Apparel retailers have been a mixed bag, but most of them are doing poorly. Dress Barn is one of the few exceptions. The chain may not stock the hottest fashions, but offering mainstream clothing at affordable prices must definitely help its performance in this soft economy.

Oracle is the country's second-largest software company, and the top dog when it comes to enterprise software. One wouldn't expect corporate tech to be a hot commodity in this lukewarm economy, but don't get in the way of Oracle's ability to live up to the hype. The software giant has historically met or exceeded Wall Street's guesstimates. Next Wednesday shouldn't be any different.

IHS isn't too far from Oracle in scope, though it's a lot smaller in size. It's a provider of databases and decision tools for the energy, aerospace, and engineering sectors. Again, this isn't typically an industry that would thrive in this environment, but IHS has posted year-over-year bottom-line gains throughout the recession.

Finally, we have Pier 1. Home furnishings aren't hot commodities at the moment. The housing industry still hasn't bounced back, even though it seems to have bottomed out. You don't need a new home to be bitten by the decorator bug, but retailers are still struggling because discretionary income remains tight. As a result, Pier 1 won't be posting a healthy profit on Thursday. However, it should post a narrower deficit. That in itself is a refreshing sign for a company that seemed destined for the dead pool a year ago.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
There aren't too many companies reporting, so it's encouraging to see so many that are growing their bottom lines in this iffy environment.

Not that investors can rest easy: These companies are expected to post improving results, and since the optimism is already baked into their share prices, it's easier for them to slip. But why begin worrying about the companies that we aren't supposed to be worrying about?

If analysts are doing a good job modeling their profit targets, we'll be just fine.

Some other reads to get you through the week:

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz prefers to look at the bright side of life -- and strife. He owns shares of Cracker Barrel 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.