January's slump was a sobering slap in the face to investors that had grown content with the ten previous months of mostly rallying equity prices. February is also off to a shaky start, leading many to wonder if the bullish run is over.

Earnings season has come at an appropriate time, with many of the reports coming in ahead of Wall Street expectations. Unfortunately, not every company is playing along. There are more than a handful of companies that are still going the wrong way on the bottom line.

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 EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

Disney (NYSE:DIS)






NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX)



China Digital TV (NYSE:STV)






Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ:SWIR)



Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS)



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 Disney. The family entertainment giant is smarting at many of its subsidiaries. The soft economy has kept turnstile clicks at its amusement parks in check. Couch potatoes are still watching plenty of ESPN and Disney Channel through their cable providers, but the soft advertising market is stinging ABC. Disney is also in the same boat as many of its major studio rivals, in that consumers are still going to the multiplex but they aren't snapping up DVDs the way they used to.

Nasdaq and NYSE run the country's two giant stock exchanges. The financial titans have their differences, but they're both tethered to the same shortcomings dictated by the recent drying up of trading activity. A lack of IPOs over the past three years also isn't helping replenish the supply of exchange-listed companies that have been bought out or buckled under pressure.

China Digital TV was recommended to Motley Fool Rule Breakers subscribers last year as a play on the migration to digital television in the world's most populous nation. China is asking its citizenry to update their sets over the next five years, and China Digital TV is the undisputed market leader behind the technology that will make it happen. It's still early in the digital shift, but impatient investors aren't going to appreciate profits cut in half during next week's report.

Elan's blockbuster drug is Tysabri, a treatment for multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. It also has a few assets warming up in the bullpen as potential drugs in the battle against Alzheimer's disease. Elan took a hit in the fall when regulators grew concerned over deadly brain infections that may be tied to Tysabri, but it has since bounced back.

Sierra Wireless is one of the two primary manufacturers of USB broadband cards that keep laptop owners connected on the go. Sierra made a big splash during last month's Consumer Electronics Show when it unveiled its Overdrive mobile hotspot, the first portable device that creates a Wi-Fi cloud of connectivity for approved nearby devices capable of running at 4G speed. The company better hope that Overdrive helps take its financials into overdrive, since analysts see its quarterly profit contracting next week.

Finally we have Electronic Arts. EA used to be the video game industry's king, but it's been a laggard in recent years. The software giant has been late to catch on to recent gaming trends, and the sector's general weakness through most of 2009 has only made things worse. Even its powerful EA Sports franchises are feeling the pinch, no thanks to Tiger Woods' indiscretions and football fans who have tired of shelling out $60 every year for a slightly updated version of Madden.

Why the long face, short seller?
These reports aren't likely to be pretty. Many of these stocks are in seemingly healthy sectors, to boot. A family-friendly cable programming giant that isn't cashing in on the humbled and homebound? A maker of gee whiz gadgetry that is giving consumers longer leashes of connectivity? This isn't going to be a pretty quarter, no matter how cute your EA Sims character may be.

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. It actually opens the door for unexpected surprises.

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

Walt Disney and Nasdaq OMX Group are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Elan, NYSE Euronext, and China Digital TV Holding are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Walt Disney and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a write puts position on Nasdaq OMX Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders if his contrarian heart will ever be happy. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Disney. 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.