Something's got to give.
Oil prices hit a 29-month high last week, but the unemployment rate is plunging.
This is the economic tug-of-war that all investors face when deciding if they should be selling their stocks or buying more.
I also 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 EPS (Estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
Clean Energy Fuels
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Boston Beer.
Boston Beer's ticker symbol -- S-A-M -- should tip investors off that the brewer's flagship product is Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Earnings slipped during a three-quarter stretch between the latter half of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, but it's been healthy year-over-year growth in profitability ever since for the brewer.
Sequenom is looking at a narrower deficit. Shares of the genetics specialist popped last month after the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a favorable study showcasing its SensiGene T21 laboratory-developed test in detecting chromosomal abnormality.
SunTech Power and Canadian Solar are catching raves -- and rays -- as solar energy players. Higher gasoline prices get investors excited about the value proposition of sun-backed power in the future, though improving net income at both companies indicates that demand is already growing.
Gulf driller Hercules Offshore may be living up to its ticker symbol. The lack of profitability may be a concern for a company that hasn't closed out a quarter in the black since 2008, but smaller deficits are a trend in the right direction. The icing on the cake here is that the shallow-water specialist has posted even smaller losses than analysts were targeting in each of the four previous quarters.
Clean Energy Fuels is making the most of surging oil prices, just as SunTech, Canadian Solar, and Hercules Offshore are. It's building out a network of natural-gas fueling stations, with commitments from Los Angeles and Atlantic City for their bus-fueling stations. It also recently landed a deal with UPS to keep its new fleet of 48 liquefied natural gas trucks rolling.
Finally, we have Jamba. The parent of the Jamba Juice smoothie chain normally posts losses this time of year. Its fruity beverages are a seasonal indulgence, peaking during the hot summer months. However, Jamba's been expanding its product line with breakfast smoothies, oatmeal, and warm beverages. If it leads to smaller losses now, it may translate into larger summertime profits.
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.
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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, except for Jamba. 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.