Things are starting to look up in 2012. The major market indices have inched higher in back-to-back weeks to kick off the new year, helping distance investors from the flattish ways of 2011.
There are still some rough patches 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's EPS (Estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter's EPS
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Majesco.
The video-game industry has been in a three-year funk, but that doesn't mean there aren't winners among the malaise. When you're as small as Majesco, having a pair of reliable franchises -- and that's exactly what the game developer and publisher has in Cooking Mama and Zumba Fitness -- make a real difference.
The success of its Zumba workout titles has fueled three consecutive profitable quarters at Majesco. Now that all three consoles have motion-based controllers, fitness titles are starting to take off. The pros think Majesco will stretch that streak to four quarters this week.
AMD and Intel are the two leading makers of computer microprocessors, though Intel is the larger player in this niche and a popular tech bellwether, given its wider product line.
These aren't banner days for the PC industry. PC unit shipments fell by 5.9% in this country -- and a still problematic 1.4% globally -- during this past quarter, according to researcher Gartner. The data doesn't include tablets and smartphones, areas where Intel is starting to make some headway.
The end result is that analysts see both AMD and Intel growing their bottom lines in this seemingly unwelcome environment. Good for them.
Intuitive Surgical isn't growing as quickly as when it was originally recommended to Rule Breakers newsletter service subscribers, but the maker of robotic surgical arms is still growing at a 10% rate during a time when many cash-strapped hospitals are holding back on their capital expenditures. Things should really begin picking up for Intuitive Surgical when that lull passes.
Finally we have General Electric. The conglomerate that dabbles in everything from light bulbs to banking to jet engines was at one point one of the largest companies on the planet. The financial meltdown smacked GE down hard, and the company even had to dramatically slash its dividend in 2009.
But these are kinder times for GE. Analysts see the company earning $0.38 a share when it reports its fourth-quarter financials on Friday, just ahead of the $0.35 a share it earned a year earlier.
Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these seven stocks have a right to be excited. They're all improving their financial situations. They're 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.
Intuitive Surgical has soared 940% since David Gardner originally singled out the medical robotics specialist to Rule Breakers subscribers, but now there's a new multibagger on the growth newsletter's radar. Read up in a free report that's available right now.