September has been a pretty good month for the stock market. The S&P 500 is up 7%, helping eat into some of the summer losses.

Unfortunately, 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

Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS)



Cintas (Nasdaq: CTAS)



CarMax (NYSE: KMX)



Saba (Nasdaq: SABA)



Steelcase (NYSE: SCS)



Nike (NYSE: NKE)



Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD)



Source: Thomson Reuters.

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.

Discover is the financial services company behind the credit card that bears its name. Consumer credit card usage has fallen for 23 months in a row, and that's naturally going to leave a dent in one of its smaller players.

Cintas is the market leader in corporate uniforms and other office supplies. Delivering freshly pressed and washed clothes to companies may seem like a steady business, but you can probably figure out that this isn't the place to be when unemployment rates are climbing.

CarMax sells used cars, but in an updated setting where haggle-free prices are set and there aren't too many lemons in the lot. Potential buyers can get free vehicle history reports, and can return cars within five days through money-back guarantees. Let's see if investors try to return their shares now that CarMax's bottom line is pulling into reverse.

Saba may be one of the few enterprise software companies that Larry Ellison has yet to buy out. Then again, the day is still young. Saba's people management solutions may very well be waiting for the economy to bounce back, but investors may not be as patient.

Steelcase is another proxy for the state of corporate America. The company makes office furniture. If companies aren't leasing uniforms from Cintas or paying Saba for enterprise software, they're certainly not going to be hitting up Steelcase for office desks and work chairs.

Nike is a bit of a surprise, since the company's killer brand is usually enough to see it through economic dry spells. The projected swoosh swoop isn't much, but even a mere 4% dip in profitability is notable when we're talking Nike. Is this the Tiger Woods curse in action?

Finally, we have Rite-Aid. Drugstore chains are typically all-weather investments. Pharmacy prescriptions need to get filled, and convenient access to popular wares is an easy sell in any environment. Unfortunately, Rite Aid hasn't turned a quarterly profit in three years. Its penny stock price attracts speculators, but Rite Aid is going to have to turn the corner if it wants to swap those out for actual investors.

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.

Cintas, Discover Financial Services, and CarMax are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Cintas and Nike are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. 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.