What do Greece and the NBA have in common? Neither one is playing ball right now.
Stocks may have rallied last month, but there are still more than a few things that aren't exactly peachy keen. Just wait until you hear what corporate America has to say next week.
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
James River Coal
Home Inns & Hotels
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Activision Blizzard.
The country's most valuable video game software company -- at least until Zynga goes public -- should be on top of the world right now. Die-hard gamers are already gearing up for the midnight release parties for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. It hits retailers Tuesday. Unfortunately the past quarter hasn't been as exciting for the company. Analysts see a sharp drop in profitability for Activision Blizzard.
Caribou Coffee follows this week's mostly uninspired reports of some of its larger java rivals. Caribou was once able to spike its retail store operations as an early player in K-Cups, but now that the bigger boys are hopping on the Keurig bandwagon, will Caribou get squeezed out?
James River is a coal miner with operations through eastern Kentucky and in southern Indiana. Wall Street is banking on James River to earn roughly half of what it did a year earlier, and a problematic trend suggests that it may be worse than that. The coal miner has missed analyst profit targets in its past four quarters.
SINA is a surprising sinker since most Chinese dot-com darlings are growing at a pretty heady clip despite concerns of tightening governmental control of cyberspace in the world's most populous nation. SINA also has a big hit in Weibo, a fast-growing micro-blogging website that's a combination of Twitter and Tumblr. As it turns out, SINA is still growing. Wall Street's banking on a 20% top-line spurt at the company. It's just SINA's profitability and margins that have been in for a bruising this year.
Cisco isn't much of a router rooter these days. The networking gear giant has been stung by the one-two punch of weak corporate tech spending and fierce competition. Cisco has responded with layoffs and retreating out of some consumer lines, but the pros don't see Cisco's net income growing again until next quarter.
Home Inns & Hotels is one of three Chinese lodging companies reporting next week. Spoiler alert: All three are forecast to post lower bottom-line results. It's not as if any of three hospitality chains are hurting for business. China's economy may not be growing at the feverish 10% clip that it was in recent years, but it is in fact still growing. All three lodging companies are eyeing double-digit gains on the top line. However, the costs of expansion and competitive pressures are weighing on margins.
Finally, we have Limelight. The content-delivery network merely broke even a year earlier, but that's preferable to the small deficit that analysts following the company are targeting this time around. This has become a cutthroat business, as server farms offer ridiculous rates to serve up Web pages and chunky media files.
Why the long face, short-seller?
These 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.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Cisco Systems. The Fool owns shares of and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. The Fool owns shares of and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Activision Blizzard, Cisco Systems, and SINA. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. 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 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.