Cheer up, longs!   

I singled out seven bellwethers that analysts see posting lower quarterly profits this week, but the outlook isn't entirely bleak. In fact, there are several companies that are actually growing in this dicey climate.

Since I gave Mr. Market a wedgie over the weekend, let me come right back with a fresh pair of underpants. Here are seven companies that analysts see posting healthier bottom lines this week.


Latest Quarter EPS

Year-Ago Quarter EPS




Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)





McDonald's (NYSE:MCD)



Merck (NYSE:MRK)



Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY)






Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top. Apple reports tonight. See all of those iPhones wherever you go? Apple always seems to have a workhorse in its arsenal. It was Macs, then iPods, and now iPhones. The sultans of style when it comes to electronic gadgetry should have no problem surpassing even Wall Street's hype. Do I have inside information? Of course not. However, Apple has easily beaten analyst guesstimates on a quarterly basis for a few years now. The trend is still your friend.

Intuitive Surgical was also on a healthy streak of humbling the pros until falling well short of expectations during this year's opening quarter. The surgical robotics specialist has been on a road to redemption ever since. It remains to be seen how Intuitive will respond to a health-care reform scenario, but it's good to see the company growing again.

Amazon has been nibbling away at the market share of old-school retailers and even its smaller online peers. It's the brand that consumers have grown to trust, and digital downloading initiatives are compelling.

McDonald's was built for recessions. Those golden arches are open arms to the cash-starved hungry. However, we can't assume that earnings are growing just because Mickey D's is posting healthy comps. Margins can get smacked on dollar menus. We haven't seen it yet at McDonald's, though. Analysts don't think you'll see it this week either.

Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb are giant drugmakers. The irony behind these two pill pushers is that they were struggling a couple of years ago, when the economy was humming along. Now they're targeted to post year-over-year gains when many of their competitors are going the other way.

Finally, we have JetBlue. Yes, that's a jet black profit for JetBlue. It's easy to be concerned here, especially the way jet fuel prices have been inching higher in recent months. Analysts will probably ask the carrier about the $599 all-you-can-fly for a month offer that concluded last week.   

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
These aren't the only companies expected to post year-over-year gains this week. Several companies have either found ways to grow during the recession or have simply cut enough corners to show improvement on the bottom line.

This doesn't mean that investors can rest easy. The bad news is that these companies are expected to post improving results. The optimism is already baked into their share prices. It makes it 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:

Intuitive Surgical is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days. It will give you one less reason to worry about this week.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz prefers to look at the bright side of life -- and strife. 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.