After such a brutal trading week, it's perfectly reasonable to still be quivering under the table. Don't expect to find me there with you, though. I'm an optimist at heart, and I see a lot of things to be grateful for in the coming days.

I did recently single out seven stocks that are projected to posts lower quarterly profits this week than they did a year ago. Thankfully, there will be far more companies improving their bottom lines this week than those going the wrong way.

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


Latest Quarter EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

Legg Mason (NYSE: LM)


($2.29) (Nasdaq: CTRP)



Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS)



Disney (NYSE: DIS)



Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO)



Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI)



Kohl's (NYSE: KSS)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Few mutual fund operators are happier to distance themselves from 2008 than Legg Mason. The company ran a couple of that year's worst performing funds, and the bruising 2008 market only compounded its outflows. However, the market -- and many of Legg Mason's funds -- bounced back nicely in 2009. is China's leading online travel portal. The world's most populous nation isn't necessarily immune to the global calamity surrounding it, but China's economy has nonetheless managed to grow at a healthy clip lately. It doesn't take a hard sell to convince investors that China's nascent travel industry will continue to grow as its citizenry gets richer. Ctrip's revenue and earnings soared 34% and 48%, respectively, in 2009. There's little reason to believe that its growth will end.

Electronic Arts, on the other hand, didn't have a very rosy 2009. The entire video game industry has been in a funk. Analysts see EA delivering a profit of $0.05 a share. That may not seem like much, but it's a welcome splash of black ink during a seasonally sleepy quarter -- especially after last year's deficit.

Disney had its hiccups during the recession. Filling its theme parks and getting advertisers to pay top dollar for primetime ABC slots wasn't easy when discretionary income ran dry. But the House of Mouse may have begun to regain its magic. Disney has posted year-over-year growth in back-to-back quarters, and Wall Street expects the streak to stretch to three after tomorrow's quarterly report.

Cicso Systems is one of the better bellwethers out there. Rising orders for its networking equipment bode well for the economy in general. The pros see Cisco's net income soaring 30% to $0.39 a share. That's only a penny's improvement over what the company earned during the same quarter two years earlier, but let's hope it's the first of many gains to come.

Whole Foods Market's registers are ringing again. The organic grocer naturally struggled when consumers couldn't pay up for wholesome eats, posting five consecutive quarters of negative comps before turning things around in its previous quarter. The good times should continue now that "Whole Paycheck" isn't having a problem drawing shoppers.

Finally, there's definitely merit in being a "cheap chic" department store during an economic downturn. Kohl's was rocking during the recession, but will it keep rolling during a recovery? The company posted a 7.7% decline in comps last month, a sharp contrast to the 22% store-level spike it experienced in March. This is a trend that naturally bears watching, though Thursday's earnings report covers a period in which comps were mostly robust.

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

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

Are you buying or selling stocks these days? Share your strategy in the comment box below.

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Walt Disney, Electronic Arts, and Whole Foods are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. The Fool owns shares of Legg Mason. 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.