November's been off to such a strange start that folks are excited about the upcoming GM initial public offering.
General Motors? Really?
Sure, GM is still a market share leader. It also certainly helps that it will be coming to market with the clean and lean balance sheet that it lacked when it bowed out two years ago.
It still feels odd to see all of this GM euphoria, when there are perfectly capable companies growing without having to go in for a bankruptcy-fueled makeover.
Sure, I was able to bring up several companies that are projected to post lower quarterly earnings this week than they did a year ago.
Thankfully, they're the exceptions and not the rule. 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
China Digital TV
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with China Digital TV.
The world's most populous nation is making a push to get broadcasters to convert to digital transmissions by 2015, and China Digital just happens to be the leading maker of the smartcards that many Chinese couch potatoes will need to complete the migration. Shareholders don't have to wait five years for this story stock to develop, since it's already happening. China Digital is both profitable and growing at this point.
Home Depot is the country's leading home improvement retailer. Everyone knows the orange aprons. Home Depot's superstores took a hit during the real estate crash. Folks were no longer able to perform cash-out refinancing mortgages to pay for that garage conversion or decked patio because their first mortgages -- in some cases -- were underwater. Residential real estate and bank lending haven't exactly bounced back, but as the recession passes, homeowners have a little more confidence in sprucing up their digs anyway.
SINA was one of the original dot-com darlings out of China. These days, the new media giant is turning heads, thanks to Weibo. The Twitter-esque site has attracted some of China's bigger celebrities, and SINA appears to have another viral winner in its portfolio of sticky websites.
Applied Materials is a maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Analysts expect earnings to nearly triple to $0.31 a share, but even that may be underselling Applied Materials' chances. Three months ago, Wall Street's target was well short of what the tech bellwether ultimately earned.
GameStop is the popular small-box retailer that sells video games and related gear. Isn't the video game industry struggling? Aren't developers sidestepping physical distribution by reaching out directly to die-hard gamers digitally? The answers may be "yes" to both questions, but GameStop is still finding a way to make it all add up on its bottom line.
Among cloud computing stocks, salesforce.com may be its biggest darling. The company reinvented enterprise software, giving companies cheaper solutions that are stored on its servers instead of the old-school programs that are tethered to individual PCs or company networks. The valuations are lofty here. I can't recall anyone ever calling salesforce.com cheap. However, when you see a software company nearly doubling its net income as the pros predict will happen come Thursday, it's hard to imagine salesforce.com ever trading for a low earnings multiple.
Finally, we have Staples. The office supply retailer may need more than its clever Easy button to get the job done this week. Analysts expect the thinnest of profit improvements out of the company. However, as a reasonable gauge for the state of small businesses, any uptick is an encouraging one. Are small companies buying more printer cartridges, file folders, and task chairs? As long as there's not a run for red-inked pens, a good report out of Staples is a good report out of America.
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.
Home Depot is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Salesforce.com and China Digital TV are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Sina and Staples are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. Motley Fool Options has recommended writing covered calls on GameStop. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
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.