The market needed a break from the brutal summer correction, and got it last week.

The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq notched gains of 4%, 5%, and 6%, respectively. Apparently equities didn't fall apart even after Steve Jobs' shocking resignation.

It's not all perfect, though. On Friday, I went over several companies going the wrong way, 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



Prospect Capital (Nasdaq: PSEC) $0.36 $0.25 Add
Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) ($0.94) ($1.02) Add
DSW (NYSE: DSW) $0.63 $0.52 Add
Joy Global (Nasdaq: JOYG) $1.52 $1.13 Add
Oxford Industries (NYSE: OXM) $0.52 $0.44 Add
Shuffle Master (Nasdaq: SHFL) $0.15 $0.13 Add
Zumiez (Nasdaq: ZUMZ) $0.05 ($0.02) Add

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Prospect Capital. Investors are drawn to the mezzanine finance and private equity firm for its juicy 13.7% yield. A dividend is only as sustainable as a company's earnings power, so it's good to see Prospect Capital's bottom line moving in the right direction.

Don't kid yourself into thinking that Barnes & Noble is going to post a meatier profit tomorrow. The bookseller is simply likely to post a narrower deficit than it did a year earlier. There may be nothing to celebrate about a $0.94 per share quarterly loss, but it will mean something if it means that the superstore's Nook is moving closer to profitability.

DSW is the footwear retailer that offers low-end designer shoes at warehouse prices. Selling cheap pumps isn't necessarily a slam dunk, even in this iffy climate. Competitor Collective Brands, which is the parent of Payless ShoeSource, revealed last week that soft customer traffic is leading it to close hundreds of stores. DSW aims for a slightly better-off clientele, and that appears to be making a difference.

Joy Global is an obvious name on this list. Despite its cheeky name, Joy Global makes mining equipment. Have you seen the prices for metals and mined commodities lately? Joy Global should continue to do well in this kind of environment.

Beyond its namesake golfer clothing, Oxford Industries also watches over tropical shirt maker Tommy Bahama and several other sporty yet fashionable clothing lines. Oxford blew past Wall Street's targets last time out, and it's positioned well to do so again.

Shuffle Master makes automatic card shufflers and other table game gear that are popular with casino operators. There are enough gaming opportunities abroad to help overcome the generally lackluster growth of the industry domestically.

Finally, we have Zumiez. Shares of the extreme-sports apparel and footwear retailer slipped off the skateboard earlier this month after posting weaker than expected comparable-store sales growth for the month of March. July also just happened to be the final month in the fiscal quarter that Zumiez will discuss come Wednesday, but the pros still see the chain reversing a year-ago deficit with a profit.

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 comments box below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.