Weak home sales and a lot of economists throwing the "double-dip recession" term around are rightfully spooking the market.

It seems as if no one cares about yesterday's labor report, showing that first-time weekly claims for jobless benefits declined for the first time in nearly a month.

Oh, well. No one said this recovery was going to be a straight-line ascent.

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

Prospect Capital (Nasdaq: PSEC)



Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER)






Sociedad Quimica y Minera (NYSE: SQM)



American Software (Nasdaq: AMSWA)



Del Monte Foods (NYSE: DLM)



H&R Block (NYSE: HRB)



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.

Let's start at the top with Prospect Capital. Prospect buys into private and tiny public companies. The stock's appeal is in the form of its monthly dividends that seem to climb with every passing month. At its most recently announced rate of $0.10075 a share for October, the yield clocks in at nearly 13%. Investors will want to follow the earnings here, because beefy payouts are sustainable if the bottom line continues to go the wrong way.

Energy Conversion Devices is a leading provider of thin-film flexible solar laminate products used in solar energy installations. This has actually been a scorching hot sector lately, as many leading solar energy players have checked in with vastly improved financial performances. Sadly, this doesn't appear to be the case here.

K-Sea is a petroleum transporter. I took some shots at the company late last year, after K-Sea missed Wall Street expectations, slashed its dividend, and warned that it may be in breach of its financial covenants. Things haven't improved since then, with the stock trading for less than a quarter of its 52-week high. Tuesday's report will likely feature a deficit, reversing a year-ago loss.

Sociedad Quimica y Minera is a Chilean producer of plant fertilizer and other agribusiness compounds. The stock is well-liked around Fooldom -- commanding a top five-star rating in Motley Fool CAPS -- but investors are unlikely to warm up with next week's flattish quarterly results.

Enterprise software maker American Software managed to grow net income by 14% in its previous outing, but Wednesday may not be as kind. It certainly doesn't help that American Software has actually missed Wall Street's profit targets in each of the three previous quarters.

Del Monte claims that its products can be found in four of every five households. Before you claim to be living in that fifth household, let's crack open your cupboard. Beyond its namesake canned fruits and veggies, Del Monte puts out several food lines including Contadina pasta sauces. If you have a pet, Del Monte cranks out Meow Mix and 9Lives for cats and Milk-Bone, Gravy Train, and Kibbles 'n Bits for dogs. The one thing that the pros don't expect to find in Del Monte's cupboards next week? Canned profit growth.

Finally, we have H&R Block. This is naturally the seasonal lull in tax preparation, but investors can't be happy with widening deficits. Didn't most companies scale back costs during the recession? Wasn't the trimming of corporate overhead supposed to pay off during slow periods such as this for H&R Block?

Why the long face, short seller?
These seven companies have 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 here 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 if his contrarian heart will ever be happy. 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.