Between the buyouts and the buoyant earnings reports, something has to lift this market higher before the year is over. I didn't help matters Friday, bringing up several companies that are projected to post lower quarterly earnings this week. 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

Best Buy (NYSE: BBY)



Pall (NYSE: PLL)






Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL)



Herman Miller (Nasdaq: MLHR)



Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR)



Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM)



Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Best Buy. The consumer electronics chain is a great proxy for the economy. Stocking the gadgetry that shoppers crave, Best Buy is the undisputed champ in its niche. Some of its smaller rivals are getting creamed, but Best Buy is well-positioned heading into the always critical holiday shopping season.

Pall is on a roll these days. The filtration and biopharmaceuticals company posted a 58% improvement in net income during its most recent quarter. Analysts see slower growth in tomorrow's report, but growth nonetheless.

FedEx is the overnight delivery giant. If Best Buy provides a good way to get a read on the consumer, FedEx is a decent barometer for the state of our corporate economy. The popularity of email and faxes may be eating into some of the important documents that need to get (physically) somewhere else in a hurry, but the pros see FedEx's profitability more than doubling come Thursday's report.

Oracle is a leader in enterprise software, and it seems to get stronger with every acquisition. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is a serial buyer, to the point of perhaps blurring the difference between organic growth and gains made through absorbing smaller corporate coders. Oracle apparently also collects discarded CEOs, going by its recent move to bring on Mark Hurd, formerly of Hewlett-Packard.

Herman Miller makes furniture, primarily office fixtures. A rise in orders in its previous quarter hints at strength in its fiscal first quarter, but we'll have to see how the cubicles stack up this week. Did I mention that Herman Miller invented the cubicle? For better or worse, it did. It was also the company behind the high-end Aeron chair that many associated with the dot-com bubble, since it seemed as if every Internet upstart turned venture capital investments into Aeron orders.

Pier 1 may be one of the market's biggest success stories. Shares traded for as little as $0.10 last year, when the leveraged home furnishings retailer was posting losses and seemed to be barreling toward bankruptcy. The stock has been a 75-bagger since bottoming out, and this should be its fourth consecutive quarter of profitability. You can rip up your Pier 1 death pool entries now.

Finally, we have Research In Motion. The BlackBerry maker is an easy target for bears. Its smartphone lines seem dated, as folks crave iPhones and Android-backed devices. However, the twist here is that RIM is still growing nicely. It's still nabbing millions of new users every passing quarter. If RIM lives up to expectations -- growing its earnings by 31% this quarter -- reports of its demise may prove to be greatly exaggerated (OK, for the near term, at least).

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. They are 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 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 comments box below.

Best Buy and FedEx are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy, which is also a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy, FedEx, and Oracle. 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 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.