I never thought I'd be happy to see any month go, but good riddance to you, August.

Summer hasn't been much of a picnic for investors, and it certainly didn't help that this was the worst August for equities since 2001.

However, it's not as if September may get any better. 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

AeroVironment (Nasdaq: AVAV)



Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN)



Casey's General Stores (Nasdaq: CASY)



NCI Building Systems (NYSE: NCS)



Phillips-Van Heusen (NYSE: PVH)



Shanda Interactive (Nasdaq: SNDA)



Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC)



Source: Yahoo! Finance. *Adjusted for reverse split.

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.

AeroVironment makes unmanned aircraft vehicles -- the cool, lightweight flyers that the military uses to see what the enemy's up to without putting any soldiers in harm's way. Shares of AeroVironment were slammed during its most recent quarter, when the company warned of lackluster revenue growth for the coming year on uninspiring operating margins. It remains to be seen if any withdrawal of troops in the Middle East results in more or fewer AeroVironment aerial vehicles in action, but investors aren't expecting much out of Wednesday's report.

Ciena is the networking equipment giant that was downgraded along with many of its peers earlier this month over iffy prospects for the communications equipment industry. Following in the same footsteps as AeroVironment, Ciena is expected to post a wider quarterly loss this week. The only thing worse than red ink is more red ink.

Casey's General watches over a chain of convenience stores. Selling beef jerky and carding underaged buyers of Bud may seem like a recession-resistant gig, but earnings should be more jerky than beef come Tuesday.

NCI Building Systems makes metal products for non-residential buildings. This naturally seems like a dicey industry given the ho-hum economy, but NCI recently bought an abandoned plant to ramp up capacity. The projected loss is steep. Wasn't the recession murkier a year ago? It was, yet NCI managed to post positive net income then.

Phillips-Van Heusen is a fashion magnate. If you're wearing an Izod shirt, Calvin Klein jeans, and Bass loafers, you're dressed head to toe in Phillips-Van Heusen brands. A tired economy will make cheaper brands fashionable, but only temporarily. Wall Street is targeting a 10% dip in profitability at Phillips-Van Heusen, the smaller of declines in this week's list.

Shanda Interactive is a pioneer in China's online gaming industry. Shanda's games are so popular, that hundreds of thousands of gamers may be interacting in any of the company's multiplayer fantasy games at any given time. Shanda is also the last of its publicly traded peers to post its second-quarter financials. Its rivals haven't fared so well, mostly posting weak top-line organic growth and contracting net margins.

Finally, we have firearm specialist Smith & Wesson. Investors occasionally lean on Smith & Wesson as a recessionary winner. The rationale goes that when the economy's tight, crime typically rises, so folks buy firearms to protect their property. Analysts usually miss the strength of demand during soft times, which is why Smith & Wesson has fired past Wall Street profit targets in each of the past six quarters. Even if next Thursday treats investors to a repeat performance, earnings would have to come in three times higher than projected just to catch up with last year's performance.

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 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.

AeroVironment and Shanda Interactive are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

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.