Earnings season has kicked off with more positive surprises than negative bombshells.

It's a good start, but there are still way too many companies that have yet to turn their fortunes around.

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

Boeing (NYSE: BA)



1-800-Flowers (Nasdaq: FLWS)



Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)



Nokia (NYSE: NOK)



Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG)



SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK)



PetMed Express (Nasdaq: PETS)



Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
There will likely be more companies posting lower earnings next week, but these are just a few of the names that really jump out at me.

Let's start with Boeing.

The Dreamliner isn't the only thing being delayed at the aerospace giant. Earnings growth also appears to be grounded as we descend on next Wednesday's quarterly report. Boeing recently announced a major order from China, but it's really old news.

1-800-Flowers is the floral delivery company that has been able to parlay its clever toll-free number into an online and offline empire over the past three decades. A lower profit during its holiday quarter is just as problematic as its inability to remain profitable outside of this particular quarter. You have to go back nearly three years to find the last time the company made money in a non-holiday period.

Microsoft? Didn't see that one coming, did you? Windows 7 is a hit operating system. Its new Office productivity suite is presumably selling well. Even Mr. Softy's Xbox business is starting to come into its own. Bing is helming an online subsidiary that continues to lose money, but this was also the case a year ago. What will value investors say if Microsoft's earnings continue to head south? Thankfully the analysts see this quarter as a temporary blip.

Nokia is the global leader in wireless handsets, but the Finnish giant isn't getting a lot of smartphone love on this side of the Atlantic. Nokia's stateside failures continue to escalate, with reports this week claiming that Nokia is throwing in the towel on the hyped X7 smartphone that it was set to introduce in this country later this year.

Procter & Gamble is the company behind Pampers diapers, Pringles potato chips, and Crest toothpaste. It's easy to see a brand titan slip during a recession when consumers trade down to cheaper house brands. What's holding Procter & Gamble back now that consumers reportedly have some more spending money?

SanDisk is the market leader in flash memory. This may be a cutthroat niche, but SanDisk's economies of scale give it significant cost advantages. Everything seems to be running on flash, so why is SanDisk going the wrong way? Unlike Microsoft, this isn't a fluke. Analysts see SanDisk posting lower earnings in the year ahead.

Finally, we have PetMed Express. The pet pharmacy should be holding up better than this. Just as it's been said that cat owners never neglect to change kitty litter during a recession, the same should be said about prescription-strength heartworm prevention tablets and topical flea and tick treatments. Unfortunately, PetMed is going the wrong way, just as the pros are targeting for all of fiscal 2011.

Why the long face, short seller?
These seven companies have -- literally 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.

The Fool has written covered calls on Procter & Gamble, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft and PetMed Express. 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.