These are encouraging times down on Wall Street.

For the first time in ages, I didn't have enough companies reporting lower quarterly results to work up a companion "7 Reasons to Worry" piece to this weekly column.

I'll confess that timing is playing a part in the void. This is the first full trading week in April, so it's too early for the companies with quarters ending in March to report. However, there are nearly two dozen companies set to deliver higher earnings this week than they did a year earlier. In other words, whether it's shrewd cost-cutting or a general rebound in business, the bottom lines are looking up for Corporate America.

Let's go over seven publicly traded companies that are expected to stand tall this week by posting year-over-year improvement on the bottom line.


Latest Quarter EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY)



Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO)



MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE: MSM)



Shaw Group (NYSE: SHAW)



Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR)



RPM International (NYSE: RPM)



Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top.

Bed Bath & Beyond is the home goods retailer so ubiquitous that it was lampooned in Adam Sandler's Click. A healthy holiday quarter from the chain doesn't signal a housing turnaround, but it's clearly encouraging to see consumers shopping for lower ticket soft goods for the home.

Family Dollar isn't as big a surprise as Bed Bath & Beyond. The thrift store operator feasts on shoppers looking to stretch their discretionary dollars. You wouldn't even necessarily know that there was a recession from the retailer's vantage point. If it delivers bottom-line improvement tomorrow, as expected, it will be the eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year earnings growth.

MSC is a direct marketer of industrial products. Unlike Family Dollar, MSC has felt the recessionary sting. In each of the four previous quarters, MSC has posted lower net income than it did during the same period a year earlier. The streak should end this week. An encouraging bonus here is that MSC actually topped Wall Street expectations in each of the four previous quarters, so analysts have a habit of being too pessimistic here. If the pros think that MSC has turned the corner, it may already be a block ahead of Mr. Market.

Shaw Group is another economy-sensitive bellwether. The multifaceted company provides engineering, construction, technology, fabrication, remediation and support services for clients in industries that include environmental, infrastructure, and emergency response. The many hats add up in the end for the Fortune 500 company, as it has delivered $7.2 billion in revenue over the past 12 months.

Pier 1 may be a distant cousin to Bed Bath & Beyond's housewares specialty, as Pier 1 stores are smaller and typically stock pricier furnishings and accessories. This was also a retailer that many investors had left for dead, making this profitable turnaround particularly sweet for the faithful. Pier 1 has been one of the market's biggest winners since bottoming out at a mere $0.10 a share 13 months ago. The stock is nearly a 70-bagger off of that springboard.

RPM makes Rust-Oleum, Day-Glo, and other specialty coatings and sealants. The company has been surprisingly dependable over the years, jacking up its quarterly dividend in each of the past 36 years. It has also been posting record results lately, bucking last year's downturn with aplomb.

Finally, we have Constellation Brands. From Mondavi wine to Black Velvet whisky and SVEDKA vodka, there's a good chance that any well-stocked bar has a few Constellation libations on the shelf. Alcohol has been historically resilient during market lulls. Hard liquor for hard times, one might say. However, consumers usually find themselves turning to cheaper spirits when money's tight, and this industry had its share of competitive pricing battles last year. The coast may finally be clear for Constellation.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these seven stocks have a right to be excited. They are improving their financial situations. They are worthy of the gains that the market rally has bestowed upon them over the past year and change.

I wouldn't be uncomfortable owning any of these companies. They're doing the right thing, regardless of Mr. Market's mood swings.

The expectations may be high, but these seven stocks wouldn't have it any other way.

Are you a buyer or a seller of stocks these days? Share your strategy in the comment box below.

Bed Bath & Beyond and MSC Industrial Direct are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.

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.