Party hats are in short supply these days, as even a wave of buyouts and bidding wars aren't enough to heat up this lukewarm market. 

Sure, I was the one who offered up seven companies that are expected to post lower earnings this week. This doesn't mean that I'm a pessimist at heart. Thankfully, there are even more companies looking to post higher earnings this week -- or at the very least narrow losses.

Once again, I have a table and I'm not afraid to set it.

Company

Latest Quarter EPS (estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

Accuray (Nasdaq: ARAY)

$0.05

$0.02

China Gerui (Nasdaq: CHOP)

$0.24

$0.23

H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ)

$0.73

$0.67

Hovnanian (NYSE: HOV)

($0.52)

($2.16)

LTX-Credence (Nasdaq: LTXC)

$0.10

($0.07)

SAIC (NYSE: SAI)

$0.33

$0.31

Finisar (Nasdaq: FNSR)

$0.23

$0.03

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top. Accuray is the company behind CyberKnife, a robotic radiosurgery system that targets solid tumors as an alternative to traditional surgery. Investors are going out on a limb with gee-whiz technology here. Accuray is profitable and has a debt-free balance sheet to boot.

China Gerui Advanced Materials makes steel plates, carbon steel, and stainless steel strips. If it's a cold-rolled steel product, Zhengzhou-based China Gerui is on it. Analysts see marginal top-line improvement when it reports tomorrow.

Heinz is the high-yielding company behind Ore-Ida French fries, Smart Ones frozen entrees, and its signature ketchup. Brand names have been a liability during the recession, as supermarket shoppers with budgets to stick to find themselves going for cheaper store brands. Heinz knows this all too well. It posted three consecutive quarters of year-over-year declines in profitability during the darkest recessionary stretches. It has now bounced back, and this should be Heinz's third straight quarter of bottom-line growth.

Hovnanian builds homes, apartments, and townhouses with an emphasis in the Northeast. We all know that the housing industry is in a funk. Last week's bleak report on new home sales doesn't bode well for Hovnanian and its peers. However, real estate developers have been able to scale back their operations and are coping with fewer cancellations. Some of the industry's key players have even reported quarterly profits lately. Hovnanian isn't there, but its losses are narrowing.

LTX-Credence makes semiconductor-testing equipment. It will be delivering one of the first earnings reports of September with its Wednesday morning release and conference call. It's not going to be hard to top its modest deficit during the same quarter a year ago, so any black ink should be good black ink.

SAIC is a military contractor. This may seem like an iffy industry given the possibility of budgetary cutbacks, but SAIC has a meaty backlog of orders. Just last week, it landed a Pentagon deal that may be worth as much as $500 million.

Finally, we have Finisar. The optical networking specialist is projected to post a dramatic surge in net income. The pros see Finisar earning $0.23 a share come Thursday, blowing away the $0.03 a share it rang up last year.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
It's an encouraging list. However, these stocks also have more pressure on them than the seven sinkers I singled out on Friday. These are the companies that are expected to post improving results. The optimism is already baked into their share prices. It makes it easier for them to slip, but why begin worrying about the companies that we aren't supposed to be worrying about?

Cross those fingers, and hope the analysts know what they're doing.

SAIC is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Heinz is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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.