Mr. Market may not be as hot as this sweltering summer is shaping up to be, but don't turn your back on Wall Street.

I played the killjoy over the weekend, singling out seven stocks projected to post 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

Worthington (NYSE: WOR)



Apollo Group (Nasdaq: APOL)



American Greetings (NYSE: AM)



Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU)



Xyratex (Nasdaq: XRTX)



Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ)



MSC Industrial (NYSE: MSM)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Worthington Industries. The steelmaker was tripped up by weakness in its metal framing business in its most recent quarter, but its outlook is brighter these days. A profit of $0.28 a share would be less than half what Worthington earned two years ago during the same quarter, but clearly an upgrade over last year's deficit.

Apollo is the leading provider of postsecondary education through several campuses, including the popular University of Phoenix online curriculum. Apollo and its peers have roared through the recession, as misplaced workers turn to virtual classrooms to upgrade their skills and pad their resumes, economically.

American Greetings is a surprising name to find here. Aren't we sending fewer greeting cards in this Facebook age of e-greetings and virtual gifts? Well, apparently, none of this is getting in the company's way. American Greetings even hiked its dividend earlier this year.

Micron Technology should be posting markedly improved quarterly results later this afternoon. The memory chip giant is expected to crank out a profit of $0.42 a share, a far cry from the steep loss it served up a year ago. Semiconductor stocks are cyclical beasts that tend to do well in market recoveries.

Nearly three months ago, Xyratex was barreling toward new highs after posting better-than-expected results. The data storage specialist has pulled back since then, so bulls are hoping that landing on the right side of the $1.35-a-share mark that analysts are targeting for its latest quarter's net income will propel Xyratex even higher.

Constellation Brands hopes that liquor is quicker. The distiller behind Mondavi wines and SVEDKA vodka sees mild improvement in Thursday's report, but at least it's sober enough to walk a straight line in the right direction.

Finally, we have MSC. The direct marketer of industrial products didn't do so well during the darkest stretches of the recession. It posted four straight quarters of earnings declines before finally bouncing back in its previous quarter. The silver lining with MSC: It found a way to stand out even when business was soft. The company has has actually beaten Wall Street earnings estimates in each of the past nine quarters. That's a welcome streak going into this week's report, where analysts are banking on a 50% surge in profitability.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these seven stocks have a right to be excited. They are all improving their financial situations. These companies deserve 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 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.

Apollo Group is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. MSC Industrial Direct is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. 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.