Sometimes the market can coast along. Other times it hits you like a can of Four Loko.
Investors are unlikely to be paying too much attention to the market next week. It will actually be trading for less than four complete trading days. Gobble, gobble.
However, I will be paying attention because some of the companies reporting earnings next week aren't getting it done at a time when the economy is supposed to be clawing its way back.
Despite the heady market gains in recent weeks, there are still plenty of companies posting lower earnings than they did a year ago. Let's go over a few of the names that are expected to go the wrong way on the bottom line next week.
Latest Quarter's EPS (estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter's EPS
Jack in the Box
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.
Brocade is a networking giant with carry-on baggage. It has disappointed the market in its most recent quarterly results. Monday's report may not be any better, with the pros targeting a small dip in profitability. It's still hard to bet against Brocade given the heavy consolidation that's been taking place in its industry, though something's not right when a stock has spent more than three years trading in the single digits.
Citi Trends once seemed like a promising retailer. It went where many mainstream apparel-heavy department stores did not, expanding deep in urban neighborhoods. The move paid off, but the fashions discounter has been meandering lately. It's projected to post a small deficit this time around. Don't panic. This is a seasonal business. However, it should be pointed out that Citi Trends did manage to squeeze out a small profit during the same quarter a year earlier.
Jack in the Box is the restaurateur behind the Qdoba quick-service Mexican dining chain and its namesake burger joint. Despite the success of Mickey D's, it seems that value meals aren't necessarily working for the rest of the industry.
KongZhong toils away in one of China's earlier growth industries, but providing value-added wireless services these days is a tough racket. A heavy-handed regulatory environment and hesitant wireless carriers have made for tough times for the wireless content providers.
Campbell Soup isn't as "M'm, M'm, Good" as its soups these days. The food giant warned last week that deep promotions from rival soup makers were eating into its domestic sales. It's a shame. Food stocks used to be all-weather investments, but all's unfair in love and price wars.
Guess? is the fashionable apparel brand that was reporting record earnings not that long ago. Is its bottom line going retro these days? Not so fast. Guess? has beaten Wall Street's quarterly profit estimates consistently for years. It has a high hurdle to clear next week, but history gives it a shot here.
Finally, we have TiVo. Despite a brief profitable run, the patent-wielding DVD pioneer is back in red ink these days. It's also been shedding subscribers, as couch potatoes turn to cheaper DVR boxes or just rely on the cloud to stream the shows they've missed.
Why the long face, short-seller?
These seven companies have seen better days. The market has rewarded many of these stocks with reasonable 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.
Motley Fool Options has recommended writing covered calls on Guess?. The Fool owns shares of Guess? and Jack in the Box. 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 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.