Uncertainty has become Mr. Market's middle name.

It's not by design, but the market's volatility has trained investors to be skeptical. Yesterday was a monster day for most stocks, yet we've become jaded traders. And let's be fair here: A lot of the cynicism is warranted.

We're seemingly in an improving economy, yet there are still plenty of companies posting lower earnings than they did a year ago. Let's go over a few of the pretenders that are expected to go the wrong way on the bottom line next week.


Latest Quarter's EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter's EPS

Casey's General Store (Nasdaq: CASY)



Chindex (Nasdaq: CHDX)



Rentrak (Nasdaq: RENT)



Dot Hill



J.M. Smucker (NYSE: SJM)






Kroger (NYSE: KR)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
There will be more companies posting lower earnings next week, but these are just a few of the names that really jump out at me.

Casey's General Store is a retailer that doesn't want to get hitched. The convenience-store operator advised shareholders on Tuesday to rebuff a hostile buyout bid, arguing that better days are ahead as a standalone company. It points to a streak of 25 consecutive quarters of positive comps, absent the price swings of the gas pumps outside. Casey's also boasts about generating double-digit earnings-per-share growth on an annualized basis over the past five years. That last point is nice to know, but the pros still see quarterly profits shrinking in next week's report.

Chindex is a Maryland-based company that provides Western health-care products in China. This may seem like a hot market for growth, but it hasn't been for Chindex lately. This should be the third consecutive quarter that finds the medical exporter failing to grow its bottom line. It has also missed Wall Street expectations during the two previous quarters, so one can't accuse analysts of underestimating Chindex's bottom-line potential.

Rentrak is a media research company that tracks everything from DVD rentals to box-office receipts. It posted a loss in its fiscal third quarter, so the projected profit is a sequential improvement. However, net income of $0.03 a share is paltry stacked against the $0.21 a share that Rentrak rang up a year ago.

Dot Hill is a network storage and data-services provider that has fallen on hard times in hardware. It's been posting quarterly deficits since 2005, and analysts see this quarter as no exception.

Over at J.M. Smucker, the food giant's quarterly report is going to be a lot like its Uncrustables PB&J sandwiches: Sure, there's some dough in there, but not as much as you might want to see. Smucker boosted its dividend two months ago, so shareholders had better hope that the lull is temporary.

MDS sold off part of its medical technology business to Danaher (NYSE: DHR) earlier this year. Now it has to turn its remaining MDS Nordion unit, which provides medical imaging and radiotherapeutic technology, into a profitable corporate endeavor.   

Finally, we have Kroger. Investors view supermarket chains as all-weather investments. Regardless of the economy's mood swings, folks still need to eat. Even if shoppers decide to trade down when money's tight, that still finds them loading up on store brands. Right now, though, there's a hole in Kroger's umbrella.

Why the long face, short seller?
These seven companies have literally seen better days. The market has rewarded many of these stocks with healthy gains over the past year, but they still haven't earned those upticks.

The good news is that Wall Street already expects these companies to deliver shrinking bottom lines. In other words, the bad news is already baked into the shares.

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

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders whether his contrarian heart will ever be happy. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story and 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.