Between debt ceilings and housing prices searching for a floor, the economy isn't exactly in "move in" condition.

I went over several 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



Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) $0.66 $0.35 Add
Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) $0.44 $0.17 Add
Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM) $0.36 $0.34 Add
Level 3 (Nasdaq: LVLT) ($0.09) ($0.10) Add
Green Mountain Coffee (Nasdaq: GMCR) $0.37 $0.19 Add
Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) $0.34 $0.29 Add
Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM) $0.48 $0.38 Add

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Baidu.

China's leading search engine reports tonight. Unlike most Chinese Internet companies that have fallen out of favor, Baidu remains every inch the darling. It closed out last week within 1% of hitting a new all-time high. Baidu has been able to sidestep the malaise and scandalous muck by continuing to gain market share in a country where online penetration rates continue to climb.

Las Vegas Sands is the legendary casino operator that has expanded into Singapore and Macau. Gambling is booming in Macau, and Las Vegas is well-positioned to continue its run there despite some recent notoriety for the company there.

Akamai is the country's largest content-delivery network. Whether a website needs to deliver secure files faster or load Web pages quicker, Akamai is there with the server farm to make it happen. We have become a world of data hogs, and that's not going away given our increasing appetite for streaming video and mobile Internet.

The one thing that has kept Akamai's profitability in check lately is that this has become a very competitive market. Thankfully, analysts feel that Akamai is holding up well enough to post a slight spurt in earnings growth when it reports on Wednesday.

Level 3 is one of Akamai's fierce competitors, though Level 3 also offers a broader array of Web-related services to its corporate clients. Yes, Level 3 continues to lose money. All 11 major analysts following Level 3 expect that to continue through at least 2012. However, the red ink is shrinking, and this should be the third consecutive quarter of narrowing year-over-year deficits for Level 3.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has been one of the market's hottest stocks over the past few years, and it's gotten there one cup of coffee at a time. The company behind the Keurig K-Cup system has revolutionized the single-serve java market. There were long-term patent concerns, but even Starbucks announced plans to hop on the K-Cup platform earlier this year.

Speaking of Starbucks, the barista baron continues to bounce back after a brief lull during the early recessionary stages. Closing stores and tweaking its offerings seemed heretical in 2008, but the company's been storming back ever since.

Finally, we have Whole Foods Market, another premium consumer-facing company that had its share of hiccups when the economy tanked a few years ago. It has been posting strong comps for several quarters, and earnings growth continues. In fact, Wall Street has been underestimating the organic grocer's revival. Whole Foods has beaten analyst estimates by a double-digit percentage margin in each of the three previous quarters.

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 Whole Foods Market and Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Whole Foods Market, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Starbucks, Baidu, and Akamai Technologies. Separate services have recommended creating a lurking gator position and shorting Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. 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.