And just like that, the first three months of 2011 are in the books.
It's been a volatile but ultimately rewarding quarter. The Dow's 6.4% year-to-date gain marks the gauge's strongest start since 1999. Most companies appear to be doing their best to bounce back from the recession.
It's not all Eskimo kisses and high-fives, though.
There are still plenty of companies that aren't posting stronger earnings than they did a year ago. Let's go over a few of the names that are expected to post flat profitability or go the wrong way on the bottom line next week.
Latest Quarter EPS (estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
There will likely be more companies posting lower earnings next week; these are just a few of the names that really jump out at me.
Let's start with AngioDynamics. The provider of minimally invasive medical devices used in the treatment of peripheral vascular disease and cancer is eyeing a slight dip in profitability when it reports Tuesday afternoon. The good news here is that AngioDynamics has come through with better-than-expected net income in five of the past six quarters. In other words, it wouldn't be a shocker to see the medical products company improve on the previous year's quarter.
It'll be a higher hurdle for Apogee Enterprises to clear. The maker of coated glass for architectural installations is likely to post a quarterly deficit after squeezing through with a small profit a year earlier. Apogee's CEO also announced that he would be stepping down earlier this year, so the company has more on its plate than just the bottom line.
Immucor isn't exactly bleeding heavily. The blood transfusion specialist is expected to earn $0.27 a share, just shy of the $0.28 a share it posted a year earlier. However, this used to be an all-weather company. This is expected to be Immucor's first quarter in years where it falls short of the prior year's profitability.
Constellation Brands lives for happy hour. The company behind Mondavi wines and heartier spirits may have the best shot of all of these six companies to edge out last year's fiscal performance. Constellation has topped Wall Street's income targets in each of the past seven quarters, and the pros are braced for just a small downtick next week.
Rite Aid is the leveraged drugstore chain that could afford a trip to the aisle where it stocks Visine. Maybe that would get the red out, since Rite Aid has posted nearly four years of quarterly losses.
It's not a sector malfunction. Walgreen
Rite Aid is the only company on the list that is expected to match last year's bottom-line performance, but nobody will be cheering a quarterly deficit of $0.24 a share.
Finally, we have Richardson Electronics. The maker of components for the electron-tube and display systems markets is barreling toward a disappointing reversal of fortune. Richardson will be swapping quarters for pennies on a per-share basis.
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.