The third quarter is coming to a close this week, and September is shaping up to be a welcome winner. The S&P 500 is up nearly 10% on the month, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ up a scorching 13%.

It's not all puppy dog kisses and butterscotch candies, though. I was skeptical heading into the weekend, bringing up several companies that are projected to post flat or 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 six 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

Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL)



Worthington (NYSE: WOR)



Xyratex (Nasdaq: XRTX)



Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO)



McCormick (NYSE: MKC)



SMART Modular (Nasdaq: SMOD)



Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Jabil. The contract manufacturer had a rough run during the darkest recessionary stretch, but it's been rolling these days. Jabil has delivered three straight quarters of year-over-year improvement on the bottom line. Analysts feel that Jabil will easily stretch that streak to four quarters.

Worthington Industries is a value-added steel processor. Toiling away in steel and other metals may be a cyclical industry, but Worthington has managed to consistently pay out dividends for 171 quarters in a row. That's nearly 43 years for those scoring at home.

Xyratex is an enterprise data storage specialist. After a prolific bidding war for 3Par this summer, storage is already a hot subsector. It obviously doesn't hurt for Xyratex's chances that the pros expect profitability to nearly triple this week.

Family Dollar isn't really a surprise here. Thrift stores and dollar shops are recessionary champs as folks milk as much as they can out of each disposable dollar. However, if it's true that the recession ended last year, Family Dollar's growth should confirm that shoppers are still being cautious during these early stages of the economic recovery.

If McCormick isn't a household name, check your spice rack. Beyond its namesake spices, McCormick also is the company behind Zatarain Cajun-style rice dishes and Simply Asia noodle bowls. Being a supermarket standout comes with no guarantees of all-weather performance. Cash-strapped shoppers can find themselves cruising the aisles for generic house brands or the steepest margin-munching markdowns. McCormick isn't growing by much, but it is heading in the right direction.

Finally, we have SMART Modular. The maker of memory modules and solid-state drives will be posting its fiscal fourth-quarter results, and the pros are optimistic. They see a chunky profit, compared to merely breakeven results a year earlier. It should look familiar to its shareholders. Three months ago, SMART's quarterly revenue more than doubled as earnings exploded.

Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these six 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 six stocks wouldn't have it any other way.

Are you a buyer or a seller of stocks these days? Share your strategy in the comment box below.

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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.