Things aren't always pretty out there.

The market may have rattled off a couple of positive weeks, but there are still plenty of publicly traded heartbreakers out there.

I recently went over some of the companies that are targeted to post lower quarterly profits when they report this week.

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



Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) $0.60 $0.56 Add
VeriFone (NYSE: PAY) $0.51 $0.40 Add
FedEx (NYSE: FDX) $1.52 $1.16 Add
HEICO (NYSE: HEI) $0.42 $0.37 Add
Hovnanian (NYSE: HOV) ($0.38) ($1.68) Add
Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) $0.21 $0.18 Add
Rentech (AMEX: RTK) ($0.03) ($0.04) Add

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Adobe Systems.

The leader in desktop publishing has been helping folks author PDF files, doctor up digital snapshots through Photoshop, and get snazzy-looking websites up in cyberspace. Sure, it recently cried out "Uncle" on Flash development in the wake of the rising popularity of HTML5, but Adobe remains a powerhouse.

VeriFone Systems is a provider of electronic payment solutions. The next time you find yourself having to scan your own plastic at a store or supermarket, see if the device has a VeriFone logo. You probably won't be able to see many of the VeriFone retail enterprise applications being deployed behind the scenes, but the company's all over that, too.

FedEx is a great way to take the pulse of the economy. Are consumers buying more stuff online and willing to pay up for expedited delivery? Are companies ramping up the number of documents that are too important to simply push out digitally? FedEx's there, and it's certainly encouraging to see analysts targeting a 31% surge in profitability in its upcoming quarterly report.

HEICO has no relation to GEICO. There's no marketable HEICO gecko mascot or Warren Buffett link. HEICO makes jet engine parts and other components found in everything from industrial turbines to defense targeting systems and missiles. Wall Street is banking on a profit of $0.42 a share, just ahead of the $0.37 a share it posted a year earlier.

Homebuilders aren't at their best right now, but the climate is starting to get a little better. In Hovnanian's case, improvement simply means losing a lot less money than it did during last year's fiscal fourth quarter. When you're Hovnanian -- a real estate developer that has posted quarterly deficits in all but one quarter over the past five years -- you'll take the relative victory.

If I'm to believe the latest holiday circular, Pier 1 Imports wants you to see it as Cheer 1 Imports for all of your seasonal decorating needs. However, investors may as well think about Pier 1 as the one that got away. The stock hit a new multiyear intraday high of $13.94 on Friday. A little more than two years ago the stock bottomed out at $0.10 a share. How rich would you and I be if we were nimble enough to get in on that 139-bagger? Then again, it really seemed as if the home goods retailer really was going to buckle under during the darkest recessionary stretches of early 2009. Clearly, Pier 1 survived and even thrived. If you have to cheer one it may as well be Pier 1. Well done.

Finally, we have Rentech. As a popular clean energy play, Rentech solutions convert feedstock into synthesis gas for the production of renewable fuels and power. The pros see a slightly narrowing deficit out of Rentech when it reports Thursday.

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.

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.