Things are starting to look up in 2012.
The major market indices have inched higher through most of January, 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 EPS (Estimated)
Year-Ago Quarter EPS
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Las Vegas Sands
Source: Thomson Reuters.
Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Mattel.
The country's leading toy company will check in on its telltale holiday quarter tomorrow. Toy makers generally disappointed investors three months ago, and Mattel now has an opportunity to show investors that it's still selling a ton of Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels cars, and other assorted playthings.
Seagate also checks in tomorrow. The pros see the hard drive maker more than tripling last year's bottom-line results. There's a good chance that Seagate may even do better than that. Its top rival posted blowout results last week, indicating that the Thailand floods that halted industry production earlier last year are starting to come around.
Seagate also turned heads last week when it boosted its dividend by 39% and announced a new $1 billion share buyback. Repurchases are sometimes declared after a company has upsetting news for investors, but Seagate announcing this before tomorrow's report is a positive sign.
Chipotle has carved a cozy living offering up its "food with integrity" in volume. There are plenty of burrito rollers around, but Chipotle's limited menu, quality ingredients, and lightning-quick assembly line have made Chipotle a cult favorite among quick-service chains.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has been one of the market's biggest growth stocks in recent years on the strength of its Keurig single-cup brewing system. Green Mountain has become the industry leader in one-cup brews, leaving java heavies with little choice but to back Green Mountain's K-Cup platform.
Things will get interesting later this year when Green Mountain's K-Cup patents run out, but there's some scintillating growth to consider between now and then. Wall Street figures that profitability will double this quarter on an 85% surge in revenue.
Las Vegas Sands is the stateside casino operator that has found a vibrant growth market in Macau. It's true that Las Vegas Sands isn't growing as quickly in China as some of its peers, but it's hard to dismiss the growing company's prospects.
Cross those fingers, but know the fundamentals
Investors in these five 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 five stocks wouldn't have it any other way.
Green Mountain and Chipotle have gone on to beat the market since David Gardner and his analyst team originally singled out the two speedsters 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.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Mattel, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; and creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. 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, except for Green Mountain. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.