The economy isn't as hot as some of the summer heat that parts of the country are experiencing.
There are also signs out there indicating that corporate America isn't at its best. I went over some companies going the wrong way on Friday, 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 some 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
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Apple.
Industry reports are encouraging. Third-party trackers show Macs gaining market share both here and abroad, and iPhones -- while not growing as quickly in popularity as Android devices -- are gaining share as well. Apple also has an impressive streak of blowing past Wall Street's estimates, so even the 65% spurt that the pros are targeting in bottom-line growth may be too conservative.
Chipotle knows how to roll a mean burrito. It also knows how to grow in a quick-service industry that has more laggards than leaders. Despite being rocked by a scandal over its hiring practices in a couple of markets, Chipotle's popularity is as clear as the long line at the location nearest you.
Harley-Davidson is also expected to post improving net income this week. The motorcycle maker has been shipping some of its 2012 models earlier this year to cash in on the summer selling season, so hopefully a solid report will be padded with a rosy near-term outlook.
Intuitive Surgical makes the da Vinci robotic arm that is helping make some surgical procedures more efficient. Despite fears that hospitals may be cutting back on expenditures, Intuitive Surgical's flagship product and parts should remain popular because they increase productivity and ease surgical fatigue.
Riverbed helps data flow through wide-area networks with its Steelhead appliances. It's not just data flowing quickly here. Growth is also on a tear. Analysts figured that Riverbed will earn $0.21 a share when it reports tomorrow, well ahead of the $0.13 a share it delivered a year earlier. Like Apple, Riverbed has been landing ahead of Wall Street pretty consistently. It has beaten analyst expectations in each of the past seven quarters.
E*TRADE is the discount broker with the suave-talking baby that makes us all wonder how old one has to be open a brokerage account these days. E*TRADE has done a great job of bouncing back from the shortcomings of its banking arm during the subprime crisis, and now it's building on top of its recent profitable turn.
Freeport-McMoran is a copper producer with interests in gold mining. Analysts have been talking down the company's target lately, having gone from $1.47 a share to $1.37 a share over the past two months. However, it should still have no problem topping the $0.75 a share it earned during last year's second 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.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Riverbed Technology, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Apple, and Intuitive Surgical; creating a bull call spread position in Apple; and creating an iron condor position in Chipotle Mexican Grill. 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 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.