Consumer confidence hit a three-year high this month, but not everyone is breaking out the party hats.
Last week, the Commerce Department revised fourth-quarter GDP growth lower. Last week's pesky spike in oil price also has to be unsettling.
Over the weekend, I also had no problem 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, not the rule. Let's go over seven publicly traded companies that are expected to stand tall this week, posting year-over-year improvement on the bottom line:
Latest Quarter EPS (Estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
China Digital TV
United Natural Foods
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Bridgepoint Education. Two weeks ago, Iowa's attorney general launched an investigation into the practices at the for-profit educator's Ashford University. Web-based universities have come under fire for crummy student loan repayment rates, and some have had the effectiveness of their curriculums questioned. Bridgepoint is bound to have a heated conference call tomorrow, but at least its bottom-line performance should be good enough to make the grade.
China Digital is the leading maker of smart cards, which will be required in all televisions in China by the time it goes digital in 2015. Investors are realizing that they don't have to wait that long for this company to pay off, since it's growing quickly right now. Its 30% projected pop in earnings is sweet, but the 64% revenue spike that analysts expect is even better.
Solar energy is hot again, and ReneSola is collecting the rays. Wall Street feels that ReneSola's sales more than doubled in its latest quarter. It should also erase its year-ago deficit with a chunky profit this time around.
Staples is the office-supply superstore chain with the "easy" button. Posting modest earnings growth will be nice, but investors will want to pay close attention to any guidance that the retailer provides. A smaller rival plunged two weeks ago when it followed up better-than-expected quarterly results with an uninspiring near-term outlook.
Dot Hill has been riding high on a consolidation wave that has seen rival data storage companies snapped up at healthy premiums. No one has acquired the provider of unified virtual storage and SAN storage solutions -- yet. But shareholders should be relieved to see Dot Hill reverse a quarterly loss with a modest profit this time around.
Chipmaker Marvell Technology was surprisingly quiet during last month's Consumer Electronics Show. That's not a good thing. Marvell's semiconductors are popular now, but the company needs to make sure that its handiwork is incorporated in as many new tech gadgets as possible.
Finally, we have United Natural Foods. Organic grocers are bouncing back, and that's welcome news for the company that carries and distributes more than 60,000 products for supermarkets that stock up on natural foods.
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.
ChinaDigital TV is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Staples is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. The Fool owns shares of Bridgepoint Education and Marvell. 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.