Does this recovery look infected to you?
Retail sales dipped 0.2% in May, according to estimates that the Commerce Department put out on Tuesday. This may seem like a negligible amount, but it represents the first monthly drop in nearly a year.
If folks aren't out shopping, the economy can't be doing so hot.
It's not just the malls that aren't living up to their potential.
There are still plenty of companies posting lower earnings than they did a year ago. Let's go over a few 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
Barnes & Noble
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
There will likely be more companies posting lower earnings next week, but these are just a few of the names that really jump out at me.
AeroVironment makes unmanned aircraft vehicles that the military uses for recon purposes without putting human troops in harm's way. Analysts see flattish results on AeroVironment's top and bottom lines. It may be hard to fathom defense contractors doing well in this belt-tightening climate, but AeroVironment's flagship business does help save lives.
No one expects Barnes & Noble to turn a profit outside of the holiday quarter. Have you seen how quiet the registers are at your local supersized bookseller lately? It's also not a surprise to see B&N posting wider losses. It is sacrificing margins in the near term to grow market share for its Nook e-reader.
Carnival is paying the price of higher fuel costs. You didn't think those enormous cruise ships ran on wind and waves, did you? Carnival also warned earlier this week that unrest in the Middle East and the earthquake in Japan resulted in 300 deployment changes, eating into near-term profitability.
FSI International makes capital equipment for the microelectronics industry. This may not seem to be an industry under pressure, but the pros see FSI earning less than half as much as it did a year earlier.
La-Z-Boy makes furniture, including its signature reclining chairs that turn us all into lazy boys and girls. Unfortunately, this looks like it will be La-Z-Boy's fourth consecutive quarter of posting lower year-over-year results on the bottom line.
Rite-Aid is the giant drugstore operator that hasn't posted a quarterly profit in nearly four years. It may seem unfathomable to run a chain that rings up in excess of $25 billion in sales and still be in the red, but Rite-Aid needs to make sure it can cover the interest on its more than $6 billion in debt before turning a profit.
Finally, we have Lennar. The calendar isn't kind to the homebuilder. The homebuyer tax credits dried up in April of last year, so the company's current performance is pitted against last year's break chasers. If there's any bright side here, it's that analysts do see Lennar turning a profit in Thursday's report.
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.
Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of AeroVironment. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders if his contrarian heart will ever be happy. 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.