Precious metals, oil, and food prices are percolating higher, threatening to derail our economic recovery.

The sad thing is that some companies never even began to turn things around.

I 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



Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD)








Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM)




eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY)




ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)




Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)




Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU)




Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Buffalo Wild Wings.

The popular chain of family-friendly sports bars that prides itself on its chicken wings has been a winner over the years. Casual dining has been a mixed bag, yet that gives speedsters greater opportunities to expand into desirable locations on attractive lease terms. There will naturally be some concerns here if the NFL lockout threatens the upcoming season, along with some unresolved labor issues in the NBA that must be addressed this summer. Thankfully college sports play on.

United Parcel Service is the delivery giant with its fleet of brown trucks. What can Brown do for you? The migration from bricks-and-mortar to e-tail has helped UPS, and a turnaround in Corporate America would be the icing on the cake.

Akamai is the undisputed leader among content-delivery networks. Websites need to deliver web pages and chunky media files quickly and reliably, and Akamai is there with its growing collection of servers. The rub over the past couple of years in this niche has been cutthroat competition driving prices lower. Akamai's projected year-over-year uptick is modest, but at least it's moving in the right direction.

There's a tale of two eBays here. Its namesake auction site has been meandering lately, as marketplace revenue inched just 4% higher in its previous quarter. PayPal is the real driver here. There was a 22% pop in transactions-related revenue its last time out. The dot-com pioneer has been breaking in new initiatives to get more casual sellers back on the site lately, and we'll see if any of those moves are helping the bottom line.

ExxonMobil is the country's most valuable company in terms of market cap, and it was that way even before oil prices began to spike. The crude awakening finds analysts scrambling to revise their profit targets higher, as ExxonMobil's projections seem to be perpetually climbing over the past three months.

Time Period

EPS estimate

90 Days Ago


60 Days Ago


30 Days Ago


7 Days Ago




Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Microsoft remains the world's largest software company. Despite the challenges to its operating system throne given the popularity of Windows-free computing through smartphone and tablet gadgetry, Microsoft's software remains the boot-up of choice in the real world.

Finally, we have Baidu. Don't confuse the maturing growth of the stateside search leaders with what's going in China. Baidu commands roughly two-thirds of the queries in the world's most populous nation, and the combination of online migration and hungry advertisers has been producing spectacular growth. The pros see Baidu's profitability more than doubling in its latest quarter.

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.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Akamai Technologies and Baidu are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. eBay is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil, Microsoft, and United Parcel Service. Alpha Newsletter Account, LLC owns shares of Microsoft. 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.