If you're still writing 2009 on your 2010 checks, you're not alone. Some of us still can't get beyond the year that was. Public companies, however, don't have much of a choice. They are now stepping up to report their quarterly reports for what is typically the final three months of fiscal year 2009.

The performances aren't always pretty. On Friday, I went over seven stocks that analysts see posting lower quarterly profits this week than they did during the same period a year ago.

I have to be fair, though. There may be some companies going the wrong way, but there are also plenty of other public companies that are finding ways to grow in this questionable environment.

I was a pessimist on Friday. It's my turn to be the optimist now. Here are seven companies that analysts see posting healthier bottom lines this week.


Latest Quarter EPS (Est.)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN)






Ford (NYSE:F)



Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)









Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top. Amazon has already bragged about strong holiday sales. Posting healthy earnings growth is simply a formality at this point. The online retailer continues to find ways to pad its market lead. Its Prime membership program is turning occasional patrons into regular customers. Digital-delivery initiatives find the online retailer positioned well for the day when speedy physical fulfillment is no longer a priority. Amazon's shares are certainly priced for perfection, but it's hard to say that the company's performance in recent years has been anything short of that.

AT&T may be the butt of "there's a map for that" attack ads, but it's still the exclusive stateside provider of Apple's iPhone. The wireless sizzle and value-priced attractiveness of its U-Verse digital television service have helped offset weakness in its flagship landline business, and the pros see a healthy 24% spike on the bottom line.

Ford is the one American automaker that didn't all but crumble a year ago. The survivor perception appears to be resonating with car buyers. Ford turned heads by posting a nearly 34% surge in sales last month. It may have had an empty tank when it posted a sharp loss during the final quarter of 2008, but it's back in black -- like the original Model T -- this time around.  

Microsoft remains the world's largest software company. There may be plenty of reasons to be concerned about Mr. Softy in the future in terms of relative relevance, but it's certainly doing well in the present. The mostly well-received release of its Windows 7 operating system during the period has surely helped.

Apple has had no problem moving iPhones and MacBooks these days, even if iPod and desktop sales have hit the wall. That's OK. Apple doesn't have to hit on all cylinders. Besides, once the hype machine gets rolling following Wednesday's likely tablet-computer announcement, Apple will have one more cylinder to help it accelerate down Wall Street.

EMC is the storage giant. It's only natural to see the company doing well now that companies are willing to ramp up their IT spending. After several quarters of flattish results, EMC began growing again during last year's third quarter. Tomorrow's sequel should be equally inspiring.

Finally, we have Johnson & Johnson. It will be "no more tears" for investors if the company that excels in both consumer goods and pharmaceuticals lives up to analyst guesstimates of $0.97 a share for its latest quarter. If anything, the pros may be too conservative. J&J has topped Wall Street profit targets in each of the past 15 quarters.

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 we aren't supposed to be worrying about?

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

Which of the many earnings reports due out this week are you looking forward to? Share your enthusiasm in the comment box below.

Apple, Amazon.com, and Ford Motor are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, 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.