Before you begin passing around the eggnog -- or re-gifting the fruitcake -- there's still an abridged week of earnings to cover.

I had no problem over the weekend bringing 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

Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) $0.52 $0.39
Nike (NYSE: NKE) $0.88 $0.76
Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) $0.20 $0.17
Tibco Software (Nasdaq: TIBX) $0.28 $0.23
Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY) $0.65 $0.58
Carnival (NYSE: CCL) $0.32 $0.24
Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU) $0.30 $0.23

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Adobe.

The leader in desktop publishing gets a lot of flack over the lack of support of its Flash platform on iPhones and iPads, but there's a lot more to Adobe's business than that. The software giant sells a ton of pricey design software, and investors should be seeing the impact of improvement there when Adobe reports tonight.

Nike has apparently had a better year than Tiger Woods. The athletic footwear giant has successfully expanded into branded apparel over the years. Why not? It's recognized as one of the 25 top global brands.

Red Hat is arming companies with Linux-flavored enterprise solutions. Yes, you can build a model on top of open source. Companies sign up with Red Hat for dependable software and support, typically at a fraction of the traditional alternatives.

Tibco is another enterprise software player, specializing in business integration management software. Tibco's free cash flow took a hit in fiscal 2009, but it's back on track now.

Bed Bath & Beyond operates the namesake chain of superstores selling housewares. Moving shower curtains, blenders, and duvets is a pretty steady business. It is subject to disposable-income trends, but it's not as volatile as other housing-related companies that rely on big-ticket purchases.

Carnival is the world's largest cruise line. This would seem like an obvious winner in an improving economy, especially as landlubbers make up for time at sea lost during the recession -- but not so fast. Fuel prices, a major cost component here, have been stubbornly high. There have also been several news reports of the industry's cruise ships having rough treks, including an engine room fire in Carnival's own Splendor last month that forced the company to cancel sailings through mid-February. Between cancellation refunds and unflattering industry news, healthy top-line growth doesn't necessarily translate into strong future bookings or booming profitability.

Finally, we have Micron Technology. Analysts see quarterly results climbing 30%, but it's hard to take Wall Street seriously given how off the pros have been over the past year.


EPS Estimate


Q1 2010 $0.07 $0.23
Q2 2010 $0.24 $0.39
Q3 2010 $0.43 $0.92
Q4 2010 $0.38 $0.32

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Wall Street's been all over the map on Micron in fiscal 2010, sorely underestimating its eventual profitability through the first three quarters of the year before overshooting reality in the final period.

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 comments box below.

Adobe Systems, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Nike are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Adobe Systems. 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.