It's not a pretty world out there.
The government reported that our country's economy grew at a mere 1.8% clip during the first three months of the year. Economists were targeting a revised rate of 2.2%. The news was also grim on the hiring front. The number of folks applying for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000, to 424,000. It's the first increase in benefit claims in three weeks.
It doesn't always get better when we turn our attention to Wall Street.
There are still plenty of companies posting lower earnings than they did a year ago. Let's go over some of the names that are expected to go the wrong way on the bottom line next week.
Latest Quarter EPS (Estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
China Real Estate Info
REX American Resources
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 China Real Estate Information and E-House. If the two companies bear a striking resemblance, it's because E-House is CRIC's daddy. As China's leading real estate agency, E-House spun off its online data business two years ago.
Real estate was a booming business in the world's most populous nation at the time, but the real estate bubble is starting to pop in China. Both companies are expecting to earn roughly half as much as they did a year earlier.
Coldwater Creek has been trading in the single digits since 2007. The volatile retailer sells apparel through mail-order catalogs, its website, and a fleet of mall stores. The pros are braced for a deficit for Wednesday's report. Coldwater Creek posted a wider-than-expected loss in its most recent quarter.
REX has interests in seven ethanol production facilities. It apparently isn't enough in these volatile times. Analysts see REX earning just a quarter of what it did during the same quarter last year.
The good news is that Cyberonics -- a medical technology company specializing in neuromodulation -- is profitable. The bad news is that it's not as profitable as it used to be.
Exide Technologies is a producer and recycler of lead-acid batteries. Three months ago, Exide was posting healthy income gains. Escalating lead prices may be eating into its margins now that the pros see a drop in profitability for its fiscal fourth quarter.
Finally, we have Shanda Interactive, one of the early pioneers of online multiplayer fantasy games in China. Don't be surprised if Shanda earns more than the $0.27 a share investors are banking on. All four of Shanda's publicly traded peers have already announced their quarterly results, and all four posted better-than-expected profitability.
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.