Last week wasn't the disaster that Friday's free fall suggests. Strong overall gains through the first four trading days of the week only helped offset some of the sting, with the Dow and S&P 500 only off 0.39% and 0.24%, respectively.
The Nasdaq Composite even manages to squeeze out a tiny gain on the week.
Things could always be better, though.
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
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with AeroVironment.
As the maker of unmanned aircraft, AeroVironment arms the military with high-tech flying machines that can go on recon missions without putting the lives of troops in harm's way. Even in these deficit-conscious times when excessive military spending is coming under fire, AeroVironment is an easy sell. Analysts see revenue soaring by more than 60% as it reverses a year ago loss with a small profit.
FuelCell Energy still isn't profitable. It's still at least a couple of years away from being in the black. However, the maker of clean energy power plants is posting narrower deficits. If the pros are right, this will be the 10th consecutive quarter that finds FuelCell posting a smaller loss than it did a year earlier.
Consumer electronics aren't generating a lot of buzz these days. The niche's biggest player has posted three consecutive quarters of year-over-year declines in profitability. Conn's has been able to stand out, largely because of its emphasis on bulky appliances and furniture that are tricky and costly for low-cost e-tailers to effectively ship out and deliver.
Hovnanian is a homebuilder. Developers have been in a funk for a couple of years, and things got worse when the homebuyer tax credits dried up last year. Hovnanian is still struggling to make its business work in this climate of low demand, but at least it's losing less money now.
Men's Wearhouse sells stylish suits for men at compelling price points. If dressy suits seem like an odd growth industry in this economic lull, consider the high rate of unemployment. Money may be tight, but folks have to look good when they head out to job interviews.
Grocers haven't been the all-weather niche that they would seem to be. It's not as easy as it seems to pass on food hikes to shoppers, and there will naturally be operating challenges gnawing at the industry's already thin margins. There have already been a few supermarket chains posting lower net income in their most recent quarters, but Kroger thankfully isn't likely to be one of them.
Finally, we have Lululemon looking good in stylish yoga pants. The athletic apparel retailer for women has been posting spectacular growth lately. Brisk expansion of its namesake stores and healthy store-level sales have made Lululemon one of the hottest specialty retailers, with a juiced-up valuation to match. Another strong quarter of bottom-line pizzazz isn't really a surprise.
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.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.