We live in a time of swaps, drops, and hops.

These crazy trading days are enough to test most investors. I don't mind the gyrations, since I know that one day, the stocks I own will be valued according to their worth.

That doesn't make me a Pollyanna, does it? I even played the pessimist over the weekend, singling 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 by posting year-over-year improvement on the bottom line.


Latest Quarter's EPS (Estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter's EPS




La-Z Boy (NYSE: LZB)



FactSet Research (NYSE: FDS)



Best Buy (NYSE: BBY)



Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR)



Smithfield Foods (NYSE: SFD)



Winnebago (NYSE: WGO)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with FedEx. The famous overnighter should roughly double its profitability during the period, but let's add a little color to the package. It's not that FedEx is doing so well today as much as it wasn't doing so well a year earlier. The $1.31-per-share profit that Mr. Market is targeting for Wednesday's report is less than the $1.45 that FedEx earned during the same quarter two years ago.

La-Z-Boy reports its quarterly results today, following up with a conference call tomorrow morning. La-Z-Boy makes recliners, but you can't accuse the company of lying down. Analysts haven't caught up to this turnaround story just yet. It has completely obliterated Wall Street profit targets in three of the past four quarters. Never underestimate the cravings of a couch potato.

FactSet bumped its quarterly dividend rate 15% higher last month. Now it's time for the bottom line to follow suit. The financial-research specialist is expected to post a 5% uptick in net income per share tomorrow.

Best Buy is one of the biggest names reporting this week, and it, too, should be padding its trailing profitability. The consumer-electronics superstore chain is making the most of both last year's liquidation of Circuit City and shopper appetite for the latest smartphones, televisions, and high-tech gadgetry.

Pier 1 seemed to be on the verge of extinction when its shares traded for as little as $0.10 apiece 15 months ago. Things are a lot homier for the home-furnishings retailer these days. The pros see a substantially narrower deficit, and don't let the red ink scare you. This is the company's seasonally softest quarter. It came through with a juicy holiday profit.

Smithfield Foods brings home the bacon. It's the meaty giant behind Armour hot dogs, Eckrich sausage, and Butterball turkeys, and likely to replace a year-ago quarterly loss with a healthy profit.

Winnebago is another company rolling out of the red. Selling a gas-guzzling house on wheels wasn't much of a sell during the recession. That uncle of yours who wanted to retire early and drive an RV around the country had to hold off on those plans when his portfolio tanked two years ago. Well, Winnebago is now projected to post its second consecutive quarterly profit.   

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors have a right to be excited. These stocks are all improving their financial situations, and they're 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 are 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 comments box below.

FactSet Research Systems is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Best Buy and FedEx are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on Best Buy, which is also a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy and FactSet Research Systems. 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 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.