The final trading week of the month -- and quarter -- may not be as cheery as bulls would like.

Sure, there will be mutual funds snapping up the winners. It's part of the pointless "window dressing" process where fund managers try to look good in the portfolio reports that they will eventually send out.

These won't be the only senseless snapshots.

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

My Watchlist

OMNOVA (NYSE: OMN) $0.05 $0.23 Add
Progress Software (Nasdaq: PRGS) $0.29 $0.37 Add
Saba Software (Nasdaq: SABA) ($0.20) $0.00 Add
McCormick (NYSE: MKC) $0.64 $0.66 Add
DemandTec (Nasdaq: DMAN) ($0.02) $0.02 Add
Micron Technology (NYSE: MU) $0.03 $0.32 Add
Xyratex (Nasdaq: XRTX) $0.18 $1.20 Add

Source: Thomson Reuters.

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

The chemicals giant didn't fare too well last time out. The stock suffered a double-digit percentage dip after the rising cost of raw materials ate into OMNOVA's profitability. Analysts got the hint, and they're braced for dramatically lower earnings this time around.

Progress Software almost didn't make this list. Back in June, the enterprise software was guiding investors to expect a quarterly profit of as much as $0.36 a share, nearly the $0.37 a share it earned a year earlier. However, shares of Progress took a hit this month when it warned that it would only be earning between $0.27 a share and $0.29 a share this time around.

Saba serves up enterprise learning, talent management, and collaboration solutions on the cloud. Server-hosted applications may be all the rage these days, but this cloud's a little stormy. Wall Street is banking on a deficit after Saba merely broke even a year earlier.

McCormick is a staple in spice racks around the country. Income investors warm up to McCormick for its consistent payouts, as the spice giant has increased its dividend for 25 years in a row. It's a welcome sight, but you also need earnings to keep moving in the right direction if you want to keep bumping your yield higher year after year.

DemandTec's enterprise software solutions model consumer behavior to beef up sales for retailers and consumer-products manufacturers. Unfortunately, its own investors misread the company's performance last time out. DemandTec's stock tumbled after posting a wider-than-expected deficit this summer.

It's never a good sign to see Micron Technology on this list, as the semiconductor bellwether's reports have deeper implications beyond the company itself. Unfortunately, the pros see Micron earning roughly a tenth of what it rang up last year.

Finally, there's Xyratex. Mr. Market sees the data storage specialist earning $0.18 a share in its latest quarter, well short of its profit of $1.20 a share during the same quarter last year.

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.

How do you think these stocks will fare when they report next week? Share your thoughts in the comment 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.