The economy continues to shuffle in the right direction.
The country gained 216,000 jobs in March, and these are the additions that should ultimately make everyone else feel a little better about the financial state that we're in at the moment.
I singled out several companies over the weekend projected to post lower earnings this week than they did a year earlier. Thankfully, that's just one side of the story.
There's more good news than bad news on the earnings front. Between recessionary cost-cutting and general improvement from last year's depressed levels, several companies are in better shape now than they were a year ago.
Let's go over seven companies that analysts see posting healthier bottom lines this week.
Latest Quarter EPS (estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
Bed Bath & Beyond
Pier 1 Imports
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Team.
The services provider for high-temperature and high-pressure piping systems and vessels reports earnings after today's market close and will discuss its financials during tomorrow morning's conference call. Team boosted its annual guidance earlier this year, and analysts see the company's bottom line tripling in tonight's report.
International Speedway is the company behind the iconic Daytona and Talladega speedways. The motorsports promoter has taken a long time to turn the corner. It has posted nine consecutive quarters of year-over-year declines in profitability. That sorry streak should end tomorrow. Break out the checkered flag!
KB Home is still losing money, as it has during all but a couple of quarters since the housing market's downturn in 2007. The real estate developer earns a spot on this list because it will likely post a substantially narrower deficit than it did a year earlier.
Bed Bath & Beyond and Pier 1 Imports sell housewares through their namesake chains. Bed Bath & Beyond stores are larger, carrying a wide assortment of basics. Pier 1 stocks furnishings and other home decor items.
If selling throw cushions and scented candles seems like ho-hum fare, did you know that Pier 1 has been one of the hottest stocks over the past two years? Its shares traded as low as $0.10 during the market bottom two years ago, when it seemed to be on the cusp of recession-propelled bankruptcy. The stock's been a 100-bagger since then, now trading in the double digits.
Monsanto is the agricultural chemicals giant behind Roundup weed killers and more than a dozen brands of agricultural seeds. It shouldn't be a surprise to see Monsanto moving in the right direction. We live in a hungry world with crops to maintain.
Finally, we have Ruby Tuesday. The casual dining chain was started nearly 30 years ago by some University of Tennessee students that apparently had a hankering for grub and The Rolling Stones.
Casual dining is one of the first niches to bounce back after a recession, as consumers with heavier wallets decide to move up from fast food for heartier eats with table service. Growth won't be a new item on the menu for shareholders. This should be the 10th consecutive quarter of year-over-year earnings growth for Ruby Tuesday.
Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
These aren't the only companies expected to post year-over-year gains this week. Several companies have either found ways to grow during the recession or have simply cut enough corners to show improvement on the bottom line.
This doesn't mean that investors can rest easy. The bad news here is that these companies are expected to post improving results. The optimism is already baked into their share prices. It makes it easier for them to slip, but why begin worrying about the companies that we aren't supposed to be worrying about?
If analysts are doing a good job modeling their profit targets, we'll be just fine.
Which of the many earnings report due out this week are you looking forward to? Share your enthusiasm in the comment box below.