It was a September to remember on Wall Street, with stocks cranking out their best gains for that particular month in more than 70 years.

It's not all lemonade and gumdrops, 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 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

Diamond Foods (Nasdaq: DMND)



Costco (Nasdaq: COST)



Marriott (NYSE: MAR)



Ruby Tuesday (NYSE: RT)



Alcoa (NYSE: AA)



Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU)



PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP)



Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Diamond Foods. Walk past the snack aisle of your favorite grocer and you'll find its handiwork in the form of Kettle Brand potato chips, Emerald nuts, and Pop Secret microwaveable popcorn.

It's football season again, so Diamond's portfolio of munch-worthy snacks should be regular contributors to tailgaters, viewing party attendees, and armchair warriors. The thing is that we're comparing Diamond to last year's period, so seasonality doesn't enter into the equation. It also bears pointing out that the company's fiscal quarter ended in August, so it was more baseball games and preseason football at play. Keep that in mind when you consider what favorable momentum should mean as we dive into the current quarter.

Costco is positioned to be an all-weather investment. Delivering edibles and other necessities at attractive price points in bulk is an easy sell during good times and bad. Earnings per share climbing at a double-digit percentage clip is still impressive.

Marriott is the hospitality giant. The recession has been rough for hoteliers, drying up both corporate travelers and shutterbug-happy tourists. This is typically an industry to avoid until the economy shows signs of life, but analysts do see marked bottom-line improvement for those checking in at Marriott.

Ruby Tuesday is a major player in casual dining. This is another economically sensitive realm. Folks don't eat out all that much when they can't bring home the bacon, so to speak. However, Ruby Tuesday has been setting its sights on international expansion lately, so it's not as if the chain is fading away like the Rolling Stones song that shares its name.

Alcoa is the aluminum giant. Set aside the goldbugs and speculators chasing other metals higher. Aluminum has been a laggard. Alcoa's thankfully bouncing back. After posting eight consecutive quarters of year-over-year declines during the darkest recessionary stretches, analysts believe that this will be Alcoa's fourth consecutive period of year-over-year improvement.

Micron Technology is a semiconductor behemoth with more than $7 billion in revenue over the past year. Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock last month, which is surprising given the dramatic turnaround going on. The pros are banking on a healthy profit out of Micron Technology, reversing its quarterly deficit last year.

Finally, we have PepsiCo. Beyond the obvious soft drink line, PepsiCo is a juggernaut in salty snacks with its Frito-Lay line. Throw in Quaker oatmeal offerings, Tropicana juices, and thirst-quenching Gatorade bottles and you have an enviable food and beverage giant that leans on low-priced items to keep growing in strong and weak climates.

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 comment box below.

The Fool owns shares of Costco, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on PepsiCo, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. 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.