You know that the global economy is in a funk when even China's feeling the blues.
HSBC's Purchasing Managers' Index in China fell to a 28-month low this month, contracting for the first time since last summer. This is a decent gauge of manufacturing activity in China, and it's not a good sign when factories are slowing in what is seemingly one of the world's hottest markets.
Things aren't necessarily holding up much better closer to home.
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
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.
RadioShack hasn't been able to make the most of the demise of Circuit City and weakness at the big box consumer electronics retailers. If anything, the survivors are gunning for RadioShack now by opening smaller stores devoted entirely to peddling the latest smartphone gadgetry. If the pros are right, Monday's report will be RadioShack's third consecutive quarter of posting year-over-year dips in profitability.
Amazon.com is a surprising name to find here. Isn't this the blazing e-tailer speedster that's gobbling up market share from bricks-and-mortar chains that dare to charge state sales tax? That rhetorical question is strictly of the tongue-in-cheek variety, but what's slowing things down at Amazon?
Blame it on the Kindle. Amazon's been slashing prices to get its popular e-reader into the hands of as many reluctant bibliophiles as possible. It's also been spending money on licensing video content for its streaming service. These are margin-chomping moves, since Amazon's top-line growth continues to grow at a heady pace. Despite the earnings slip, Wall Street eyes a healthy 43% surge in net sales at the online retailer.
Ford helped lead automakers out of its recessionary slump, fueled by the popular though short-lived "cash for clunkers" trade-in campaign. Ford has been at the forefront of dashboard technology with its Sync and myFord Touch platforms, though there have been a few speed bumps along the way. Year-over-year comparisons have gotten difficult in recent months, hence the projected decline in net income.
Shares of Lumber Liquidators walked the plank earlier this month, when the 250-unit retail chain specializing in hardwood flooring warned of near-term weakness. Folks just aren't interested in home improvement projects these days, and that may linger until housing prices stabilize.
From fiber optics to life sciences to LCD screens, Corning's endeavors are as sexy as they're all over the map. Margins appear to be a problem, though, as analysts are banking on a 19% decline in earnings per share despite a 15% uptick in revenue.
Finally we have Pulte and Meritage Homes. This obviously isn't a good climate for homebuilders, and who knows when demand for new construction will truly bounce back. However, these two residential developers did manage to post modest profits a year earlier. Both are looking at small deficits this time around.
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.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Lumber Liquidators, RadioShack, and Ford. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Lumber Liquidators, Ford, Amazon.com, and Meritage Homes. 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.